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Brief Excerpts from...
 

Days of Darkness:
The Feuds of Eastern Kentucky 

 
by John Ed Pearce
University Press of Kentucky
  Buy the Book!

Are all 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.


Table of Contents

List of Maps
What This Is All About
Harlan County: The Turners Meet the Howards
Choose Your Outlaw
The Turners Meet the Howards
The Trap that Didn't Spring
Breathitt County: A Talent for Violence Almost a Romantic Journey
Captain Strong's Last Ride
The Last and Bloodiest Feud
Pike, Perry, and Rowan Counties: Mayhem Everywhere
No Romeo, No Juliet, No Heroes
The Woman in the Case
A Nice Little College Town
Clay County: The Hundred-Year War
The Incident at the Courthouse
Drawing the Lines
A Legacy of Violence
The Fatal Clash on Crane Creek
Trouble on the Burying Ground
The Best Men in the County
The Turtle Calls for Bad Tom v Bloody Time in Frankfort
The Feuds Wind Down