Notes for Roseanna McCoy: The real genesis of the trouble is found in the fact that about the time mentioned, Jonse Hatfield, one of the sons of Devil Anse, "stole" Rosanna, a daughter of Randall McCoy. He took Rosanna to the home of his father, Devil Anse, and the common understanding seems to have been that he held her out, in the neighborhood, as his wife. Both West Virginia and Kentucky were, what is known as, Common Law states. Under the common law, no civil authority or ceremony, and no religious ceremony were necessary to the creating of the status of husband and wife, which might be done by the mutual consent of the parties, and a public declaration of their intentions to become husband and wife.
Whatever the facts in the case may have been, the wild young Jonse soon became infatuated with another woman, and life in the home of Devil Anse became a burden to Rosanna. Her mother, Sarah, and her brothers and sisters wanted her to return home, which she finally did, but Randall, her father, could not forgive her for what was to him a betrayal of the McCoy honor. She was soon to have a baby, the child of Jonse. She was a "one man" woman. She loved Jonse with all of the devotion of her heart. Her father could not become reconciled, and, as a way out of the family dilemma, Rosanna went to live with her aunt, at Stringtown, a small settlement not far from her father's home. Here the baby was born, lived a while, contracted measles, and died. Those were days when the hearts of women broke for love. Rosanna, still loving Jonse with all of the desperation of a primitive nature, broken by neglect, could not survive the loss of her baby, which she had hoped might be the means of bringing Jonse back to her, so she died. It does not seem that there was any disease, or that she took her own life; she seems to'have died of a broken heart. Thus came the first great grief into the life of Sarah McCoy.