Date of Award


Degree Name



College of Liberal Arts

Type of Degree


Document Type


First Advisor

Kevin Barksdale

Second Advisor

Robert Maslowski

Third Advisor

Michael Woods


The Lincoln County Feud occurred between 1878 and 1890 in the Harts Creek community of Lincoln and Logan counties, West Virginia. The aim of this thesis is to determine the causes of the feud, explore factors that contributed to its escalation, and identify reasons for its conclusion. The Lincoln County Feud arose out of personal grievances between prominent residents Paris Brumfield and Canaan Adkins, intensified due to the changing socioeconomic nature of the Harts Creek community, transformed into a contest among merchants for economic and political supremacy, and concluded with the elimination or outmigration of anti-Brumfield factions. Late nineteenth century Southern Appalachian feud studies provide invaluable insight into Civil War legacy and violence, require a micro view of feud communities that allow for a better understanding of mountain culture, offer reasons for crime causation and cessation, and consider a link between societal transformation and violent behavior. This thesis reflects over twenty-five years of research by a direct descendant of feudists and relies upon printed accounts of the feud, contemporary newspaper accounts of the feud, numerous oral histories provided by descendants of feudists, and rare documents maintained in local courthouses, archives, and university libraries in West Virginia and Kentucky.


Lincoln County (W. Va.) -- History -- 19th century.

Logan County (W. Va.) -- History -- 19th century.

Brumfield family.

Adkins family.