195.1 Suppose you are watching a TV drama based on the 1960 presidential election….and one of the key plot elements is bachelor John F. Kennedy continually hitting on Richard Nixon’s daughter Tricia…at the time just 13 years old…Kennedy is 42. How’s it turn out? Kennedy is elected, and on inauguration day is accompanied by his new wife, a 19-year-old Hollywood starlet. Pierre Salinger comments to Sargent Shriver: “He likes ’em young.”
195.2 Pretty outrageous, no? Because these are public figures within our lifetime…we know Kennedy was already married…and while he had a “lust for life” shall we say, all indications are he stayed within his own age group and didn’t chase after young teens….let alone the daughter of his election opponent. Trouble is, when dealing with historical figures from an earlier time, of which the general public has practically no knowledge, such an absurd fantasy becomes more plausible.
195.3 Which brings us to The History Channel’s extremely popular Hatfields and McCoys miniseries of 2012. The rampant historical inaccuracies of this production have been well documented on the net and elsewhere…and I covered those relating to kinship and genealogy in several Related How Again? posts, starting with #122 The Coyfields and the McHats. But in terms of false information and trashed reputation, none are treated worse than Pike County lawyer Perry A. Cline.
195.4 On the TV show, he is the main villain of the piece, portrayed as a craven, sniveling shyster. Now actions he took during the Feud years are a matter of historical record. What his motivations might have been is for historians to debate. I merely submit that he served as county sheriff for 2 terms, was elected to the Kentucky state legislature, spearheaded a bill to educate black students, and served as a school commissioner. In fact, a school was named after him…it closed in 1966, but the building was named a Kentucky Landmark in 2007. And he was inducted into Pikeville University’s Distinguished Educator Hall of Fame in 2012…hardly the resume of a scoundrel, nez pah?
195.5 Parenthetically, one thing about the internet…you must have patience…see today’s wicked ballsy. Back when I was researching the Hatfields and McCoys in the spring of 2013, Perry A. Cline’s middle name remained stubbornly elusive. Turns out it was Anderson, the same middle name as Devil Anse Hatfield, whose seldom used first name was William.
195.6 But what concerns this blog is the egregious fabrications regarding Cline’s kinship. You may recall that on the show, Perry Cline wants to marry Randall McCoy’s daughter Roseanna. And near the end, when we meet his youthful bride (not Roseanna), I believe the comment was “You like ’em young, don’t you, you cradle-robbing snake.” Well, that statement itself makes no sense, since women in their early teens routinely wed in those days. But all of this is a complete fabrication…during the Feud years, Cline was already married, to one Martha Adkins, and would eventually father 8 children.
195.7 Even worse, you will find things like this:
Uncle Wiki, that cornucopia of misinformation, agrees, without getting into specifics…
And ancestry.com gets into the act…
Here, no mention of Asa Harmon McCoy being Martha Adkins’ first husband, short of simply giving her the last name of McCoy.
195.8 The truth? Perry Cline did marry Martha Adkins, daughter of Allen D. Adkins and Matilda “Patty” Williams. It’s also true that Asa Harmon McCoy had just one wife, also named Martha. So it seems reasonable to suppose that after she was widowed, Martha Adkins McCoy married Perry Cline, right? Wrong! Because Asa McCoy’s wife was Martha “Patty” Cline, Perry Cline’s sister! This is historical fact, as well-documented as anything could be. Still…in her grief following Asa’s murder, could his widow have married her own brother? I’ll go out on a limb and say…no.
195.9 But as per Chart 701, what’s fascinating is that 3 of Perry Cline’s 7 siblings, besides sister Martha, also married McCoys…brothers William Trigg and Peter married sisters Margaret and Elizabeth McCoy, 1st cousins of Asa and Randell…and sister Jennie Cline married another McCoy cousin, John. This certainly accounts for Perry Cline’s close ties to the McCoy family, altho yet another of his sisters married a Hatfield…and of course numerous Hatfields and McCoys intermarried. That’s the way it was back there, back then…alliances were not as clear-cut as History Channel writers would have you believe.
195.10 But we’re not through yet…both The History Channel and Uncle Wiki agree that Perry Cline was a “cousin” of Randall McCoy. I ask you to study Chart 701…remembering that Asa and Randall McCoy were brothers…do you see blood cousins? I don’t….certainly not 1st cousins…and going back several generations, I find no McCoy/Cline connection. Perry Cline was Asa’s brother-in-law, but not Randall’s…no cousins there. And several of Randall’s 1st cousins were Perry’s siblings-in-law, but that’s as far as it goes. Do you consider your sister-in-law’s cousin your cousin? Me neither.
195.11 So whether it’s dramatic license gone crazy…or genealogical sloppiness…everything you thought you knew about Perry Cline is wrong…including the occasional mention of his being related to Ellison “Cotton Top” Mounts, hung for the murder of Alifair McCoy. This is untrue, but brings up an interesting point…because Cline did have many Mounts cousins…altho he was no blood relation to the Mounts family…BTW 2 good old German surnames…Cline = Klein and Mounts = Muntz.
195.12 Consider: if your father has a sister and she has children, these children are your 1st cousins…and their surname is not yours or your father’s, but the surname of the man your aunt married. Say your father is an Adcock and your aunt married a Zorba. Yes, you are related to people named Zorba, your 1st cousins. Does this mean you are related to the Zorba family? No…you’re certainly connected to them, thru your aunt’s husband, but there is no blood relation between the Adcock and Zorba families…your Zorba cousins are actually your Adcock cousins, and you are theirs, since their mother and your father were born Adcocks.
195.13 Now historians consider Ellison “Cotton Top” Mounts to be the son of 1st cousins Ellison and Harriet Hatfield. Cotton Top’s alliance with the Hatfields on their side of the feud stems from Ellison Hatfield’s acknowledgement that they were father and son…and remember, whatever notoriety ensued was because Cotton Top’s parents were unmarried, not because they were cousins…that was common enough in the Tug Valley, as well as just about everywhere else. Harriet Hatfield married Daniel Mounts when Cotton Top was very young, hence his using the Mounts surname. Interesting to note, he had a brother George, also believed to be a son of the Hatfield cousins, and he went at times by both Mounts and Hatfield… and when his widow remarried, she put herself down as a Hatfield.
195.14 So at the outset Perry Cline is no blood relation to Cotton Top Mounts…is he related to Cotton Top’s step-father Daniel Mounts? A resounding yes!
And that’s thanks to Perry Cline’s aunt Margaret Cline marrying David Cecil Mounts…resulting in Perry having a passel of Mounts 1st cousins, added to his copious Cline 1st cousins, many of whom intermarried, as seen in Chart 702. Well, 2 of Perry’s Cline cousins married each other, Thomas and Edie…but beyond that, sisters Nancy and Margaret Cline married brothers Peter and Jackson Mounts respectively…all 1st cousins to Perry and one another. And 2 other Mounts brothers, Michael and Alexander, married the daughters of Cline 1st cousins Peter Harper and Sarah, themselves siblings…the brides thus being 1st cousins once removed ascending to the grooms.
195.15 Perry Cline’s relation to Daniel Mounts? 1st cousin once removed thru Daniel’s father, and 1st cousin twice removed thru Daniel’s mother. Next week, a breaking news story and we’re on it!…Goodnight David, Chet, Walter…
Today, when a new consumer product is introduced based on an existing product, it’s called in the business a “line extension”…back in the day it was called “hitch-hiking” or “piggybacking.” A minor example, but well-remembered by me because it was such a tasty breakfast cereal, was General Mills’ Caramel Puffs, a spinoff of its highly successful Cocoa Puffs. For years there was hardly a mention of it on the internet…then old newspapers starting coming on-line, and I found several grocery ads mentioning Caramel Puffs…it apparently was available for only a year, around 1959-60. Finally, several months ago, a picture surfaced…ha!…now that’s what I’m talking about. But like I said, with the internet, patience can pay off. Can’t find something? Wait 6 months or a year and try again…
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