History Today subscription

Background to Feuding: The Vendetta in Kentucky

The mountain country of Kentucky, until very recent years, has been the scene of fierce family feuds, as A.L. Lloyd records here.

The southern upland farmer is the clown of the American scene. The films, the magazines, the comic-strips show him as a hard lanky man, so ill-nourished that the lice drop off him dead, so backward that he pokes his beard over his slate and declares: “By Gad, if fourth grade’s any harder this year than ’twas last, Ah’m sneaking mahself right back into third grade.” Even his languid movements have a humorous description: the hookworm hustle.

Superior Americans have described him as “our contemporary ancestor,” but most of his countrymen give him no grander name than “hillbilly,” a term as contemptuous as comic. The popular view of the hillbilly is so strongly stereotyped that many Americans believe him to be a product of the vaudeville stage, a stock figure of fun, and not a real man at all.

To read this article in full you need to be either a print + archive subscriber, or else have purchased access to the online archive.

If you are already a subscriber, please ensure you are logged in. 

Buy Subscription | Buy Online Access | Log In

If you are logged in and still cannot read the article, please email digital@historytoday.com.

Get Miscellanies, our free weekly long read, in your inbox every week