The Hatfields and the McCoys, Meet the Manson Family

Charles Manson was descended from this feuding family history

Did you know that Charlie descended from the infamous McCoy family: one-half of the most infamous Southern hillbilly feud in American history?!

As you may know, this author is an amateur genealogist who often uses genetic tools to research the Manson Family, their victims and others. For instance, I used genealogical tools to discover the true name of Little Patty (we believed her name was Madeline Joan Cottage but that was actually an alias). I’m currently researching ‘Michael Weine’ — the man we believe may have been the father of Susan Atkins’ baby, Ze Zo (although I’m starting to wonder if it wasn’t another man).

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A snapshot of Charles Manson’s Family Tree

Charles Manson’s ancestry isn’t in question — it’s been thoroughly researched and vetted and shared, so we know what and whom he descends from. But I thought it would be fun to build a family tree for him anyway — and discovered that he descends from none other than the infamous McCoy Family.

First, a little history of the Hatfields and McCoys:

During the American Civil War, a man named Asa Harmon McCoy joined the 45th Kentucky Infantry. McCoy was Charlie’s first cousin, five times removed! Asa had served the Union during the Civil War in several regimens including the Pike County (Kentucky) Home Guards. Asa was shot in the chest during the early months of the war, and after joining the Kentucky Infantry he was captured by rebel (Confederate) soldiers, and sent to a Maryland hospital.

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Asa Harmon McCoy (1828 to 1865): Charles Manson’s first cousin 5x removed

He may have escaped from that hospital, because Asa next turned up at a hospital in Lexington, Kentucky with a broken leg. He was mustered out of the Union Army on Christmas Eve 1864 and was killed just thirteen days later in an ambush near his home. Renegade Confederate soldiers claimed credit for this killing, and it is rumored that it was in retaliation for a 1862 shooting that wounded the good friend of a man named Devil Anse Hatfield. According to stories told by the McCoy clan, Anse’s cousin Jim Vance was the one who killed Asa.

This is the first known ‘altercation’ between the Hatfields and McCoys. Thirteen years later, Asa’s brother Randolph (also known as Randall) McCoy went before a Justice of the Peace, claiming that a HOG in the possession of Floyd Hatfield (Anse’s cousin) was stolen from him. Randall asked the Justice to intervene and have the hog returned to him. The judge agreed, largely because of testimony from one Bill Staton — a cousin of both McCoy and Hatfield families. The pig was given to Randall McCoy.

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A marker noting the location of the infamous Hog Trial between the Hatfields and McCoys

But two years later, Staton (the witness) was killed by two McCoy brothers, Paris and Sam. They were acquitted of murder (on the grounds of self-defense).

Then Devil Anse’s son Johnson hooked up with Roseanna McCoy (Asa’s second cousin — she is also Manson’s 1st cousin, 5x removed) who left her family and went to live in West Virginia with the Hatfields.

After Roseanna returned to Kentucky, Johnson was arrested by the McCoy’s (apparently on some outstanding bootlegging warrants). Roseanna went directly to Anse Hatfield and they organized a search party for his son. The Hatfield gang circled the McCoy camp and got Johnson back.

In thanks for freeing him, Johnson actually left Roseanna (who was pregnant) and instead married her cousin Nancy!

Then in 1882, Anse’s brother Ellison was killed by three of Roseann’s brothers. Pharmer, Bud and Tolbert McCoy were arrested by Hatfield constables. Anse Hatfield stepped in. He arranged another search party, who intercepted the constables and freed the three McCoys — whom the (Hatfield) vigilantes promptly turned on, and massacred. They were tied to bushes and shot multiple times.

Devil Anse Hatfield and twenty other men were all indicted for the murder of the McCoy three. They were freed, following the indictments. This pissed off the McCoys. They went to an influential brother-in-law who used his political connections to offer rewards for the arrest of the Hatfields.

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Devil Anse Hatfield: yes that really was his name!

At some point, Jim Vance (the man believed responsible for Asa McCoy’s murder) was himself killed by a member of the McCoy family. Several Hatfields were on their way to confront the McCoys about Vance’s killing when they were intercepted by their mortal enemies and on January 1, 1888 (in what was known as the Battle of the Grapevine Creek) a bloody gunfight broke out, leaving a dozen dead between both families, including women.

It’s a long and acrimonious history between these two families — much longer than this short synopses would explain — but it’s very interesting that Manson descends from these same McCoys!

  • Charles Milles Manson: 1934 to 2017
  • Colonel Walker Scott Sr (Charlie’s father) : 1910 to 1954
  • Walker H. Scott (Colonel’s father, Charlie’s grandfather): 1883 to 1974
  • Garfield Scott (Walker’s father, Charlie’s great-grandfather): 1862 to 1889
  • Henderson Scott (Garfield’s father, Charlie’s 2x great-grandfather): 1842 to 1926
  • Andrew Jackson Scott (Henderson’s father, Charlie’s 3x great-grandfather): 1809 to 1870
  • Elizabeth McCoy (Andrew’s mother, Charlie’s 4x great-grandmother): 1786 to 1860

Asa McCoy was the son of Elizabeth’s brother Daniel. Roseanna was the daughter of Elizabeth’s brother Randolph (Randall).

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Charles Manson, under arrest

When news broke in late 1969 that a group of so-called Hippies in California had committed the brutal Tate/LaBianca murders and that the murders had been ordered/orchestrated by a 34-year old ex convict who grew up in West Virginia, the public decided that he was a nut, a loose cannon, an outlier.

But it turns out, Charlie was the most recent inception of a long-standing tradition of stubborn-ass Southerners who think they’re right, everybody else is wrong and they’re willing to shed blood to claim their moral victory.

You can read more about Charlie’s childhood history here:

And here:

H. Allegra Lansing is the author of the true crime book The Manson Family: More to the Story (published June 2019 from Swann Publications)

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Author of the “More to the Story” true crime nonfiction series.

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