those stories about the infamous feuds of Eastern Kentucky true? According to author John Ed Pearce in his book, Days of Darkness, many were not or were greatly exaggerated accounts of real
events. Mr. Pearce devotes one chapter to the French - Eversole War which took place in Perry County. Here are a couple of excerpts and the table of contents:
Our story concerning the French - Eversole War in Perry County is about the woman who caused the trouble, or, more precisely, about the young man whose
desire for this woman caused the streets of Hazard to run read with blood, to exercise hyperbole. The young man was a clerk in Fulton French's general store when he met this woman. She
drove him crazy. One night he came back to the store to get his hat, and there was this woman with his employer, French. Engorged with jealous rage, the young man decided to get rid
of French, went one night to the home of Joseph Eversole, French's chief competitor in the merchandise business, and warned him that French was planning to kill him. Eversole,
alarmed, began arming his employees. French, hearing this, armed his. It wasn't long before the two sides clashed. But it was Eversole, not French, who was killed. The lovesick
young man committed suicide.
Isn't that a good story? You could make a movie out of it. There is only one thing wrong with it. It isn't true. It never happened. There never was any
mountain temptress, any lovesick young man. A total fabrication. Where the tale started, no one knows."
A reporter for the Cincinnati Enquirer, hearing that there was serious trouble in Perry County, took the train to London, hired a horse, and began the
exhausting seventy-mile ride over the rugged mountain trails. Not far from Hazard he fell in with a lanky mountaineer, told him the purpose of his journey, and was delighted when the
mountain man offered to escort him into Hazard and introduce him to feud members who could give him the facts about the terrible battles. They were French adherents, and what they gave
him was a highly one-sided, wildly exaggerated version of what had been a fairly harmless clash; but by the time it appeared in the Enquirer, the mountains were made to appear dripping in
blood. The mountaineers were not without a certain sense of humor.