Hatfields and McCoys
The surnames of the two hillbilly families involved in America’s most famous feud. The quarrel began in 1865, escalated in 1881 with a stolen pig and Romeo-and-Juliet-esque love affair, straddling Kentucky and West Virginia (see map) and ended by agreement in 1891, with 12 dead and folklore aplenty. On one side, the chief protagonist was William Anderson “Devil Anse” based in West Virginia. On the other, the go-to
hooligan was Kentucky-based Randolph “Ol’ Ranl” McCoy
The Hatfield and McCoy vendetta would have been just another bit of Americana, unworthy of these pages, were it not for the fact that many of the McCoy clan have von-Hippel Lindau syndrome–VHL (OMIM:193300). Some workers believe that VHL could explain the feuders’ symptoms, given that phaeochromocytomas, commonly seen in VHL, produce adrenaline jolts that might have triggered the McCoys’ volatile and irascible responses to the Hatfields’ shenanigans.