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A West Virginia Barbecue, 1831 PDF Print E-mail

by Horace Smith & Samuel Wordsworth

Bear Hunt

The other day the people of Logan County, West Virginia, held a great barbecue to celebrate the division of the county. Tables were spread in the street and all traffic was suspended. Hundreds of stalwart mountaineers came in with their wives and children from the region roundabout. Eight big black bears had been shot within a mile or two of the town, and their carcasses, served in barbecue style, were the piece de resistance of the feast. The bears were flanked and surrounded with roasted possums, wild turkeys, pheasants, quail, rabbits and all sorts of domestic fowls. Potatoes by the barrel were roasted, and pumpkin pies by the hundred lined the tables. Hard cider was the beverage. "Devil Anse"* Hatfield, the noted leader of the [later] Hatfield-McCoy vendetta, was master of ceremonies. He stood at the head of the table with a half-open valise, from which the butts of three revolvers protruded. Though there is a generous price set upon "Devil Anse's" head, not a disturbing word was spoken, and the barbecue was a great success.

From: Festivals, Games & Amusements, Ancient & Modern, by Horace Smith & Samuel Wordsworth,  New York: Harper, 1831.

*Anse is Danish for "judge."

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