|The Transcription of the confession and the article regarding Maired’s crime can be found below. The article indicates he is related to the “famed” clan but I don’t know his actual relationship to Devil Anse Hatfield.|
|Execution conducted at Sneedville by Sheriff Buttry without any disturbing scenes.|
Five thousand people in town.
Hanging was in an enclosure.
Story of Hatfield’s crime, committed March 26, 1896.
Sneedville-Dec.16-Maired Hatfield was hung here today for the murder of Jonas Trail. The drop fell at exactly 1o’clock. Hatfield’s neck was broken by the fall and he was pronounced dead in six minutes, but the body was left hanging for twenty-four minutes.Hatfield rested very uneasily all last night, scarcely at all and ate very little breakfast this morning. Sheriff Buttry appeared at the jail shortly after 12:30 and reading the death warrant to Hatfield; started with him to the place of execution, a half a mile from the jail.
The enclosure around the gallows and the platform had been built ten feet high, but the gallows and platform had been erected in a hollow, surrounded by hill. So that the majority of the five thousand spectators who were present had an almost unobstructed view of the execution, although the letter of the law as to making all executions private was obeyed.
There was considerable excitement as the prisoner was taken inside the enclosure but no trouble of any kind occurred.
On catching sight of the gallows Hatfield’s nerve completely left him and he broke down completely and had to be assisted to the platform, where brief prayers were offered by Messer, Richardson, Trent and Burton. Hatfield made an effort to talk but choked and broke down and could not speak a word.
His hands and limbs were swiftly pinned, the black cap adjusted over his face and being unable to stand up he kneeled on the trap, which was at once sprung by the sheriff. He fell about six feet, his neck being instantly broken.
Exclamations of horror went up from the large crowd as the drop fell and Hatfield’s body dropped out of sight below the door of the platform, where it slowly swung, while a few convulsive shudders ran through his body. His body was allowed to hang twenty-four minutes, when it was taken down and placed in a coffin and will be taken to the home of his mother, in the edge of Grainger County.
The large crowd left Sneedville without any disturbances of consequence having occurred.
Story of the Crime
Maired Hatfield who met his death on the scaffold was a relative of the famous Kentucky outlaws of the same name, whose feuds with the McCoy’s have kept the border counties in Kentucky terrorized for the past ten or fifteen years and have been the cause of the violent deaths of more than a score of men and women.
Most of the men of the Kentucky Hatfield family are tall, well formed and fairly intelligent. In this respect, Maired was a poor representative of the family. He was rather short and heavily built, slouchy and unkept in appearance, with a muddy complexion and deep set, sleepy looking eyes, with a furtive gleam of low cunning and cruelty in them
For this twenty year old murderer was married more than a year ago to a mountain girl of his own station in life. He lived in a little cabin in a wild little frequented mountain cove in the southern part of the county with his wife and mother. He eked out a living at a pretense at farming, with an occasional day’s work for some provident neighbors or in helping in the stills, which in spite of the vigilance of the revenue officers, still flourished in many of the mountain counties.
Not withstanding the fact that he had a young wife, another woman, Haney Jordan, who was one of the chief witnesses against him at his trial, was really the cause of his death today.
For in this, as so many of the similar crimes there was a woman in the case, and Haney Jordan was that woman.
Haney Jordan was a well known mountain amazon, with more pretensions to good looks than virtue and in the truth, but little of neither.
The Murdered Man
Jonas Trail was a “Moonshiner” operating an illicit still in a distant gorge far from the prying eyes of the “revenuers” or their spies, afterward disposing of the whiskey through the medium of a “blind Tiger”.
The location of this “jug saloon” was several miles from his still and some distance from the cabin to this “blind tiger” by a foot path which wound through the forest and along the bank of a mountain stream and come out into a field not far from his house.
Trail was supposed to have saved up considerable money as a result of several years successful dodging of the revenue officers, the while he sold much “mountain dew” to the thirsty citizens of Hancock County. It was even rumored that he might possibly have as much as a hundred dollars, which is considered a vast fortune in the wildest parts of the mountain.
Killed for His Money
Hatfield had been for some time a hanger-on of Trails, sometimes helping at odds jobs about the still and sometimes loafing about in the vicinity of the “blind tiger”. According to his statement on his trial. Where he afterwards reiterated in a written statement, made only last Friday, after he had professed religion and had been baptized, the idea of murdering Trail for his money was suggested to him by the woman,
Haney Jordan, who told of seeing Trail with an immense amount of money, and fueled his imagination with thoughts of the riches which they might enjoy, if he only had the courage to kill Trail. The woman, so he claimed finally gained such an influence over him that he agreed to kill Trail and secure his money.
The Opportunity for which they waited came on the night of the 26th of March. During the day both had been hanging around Trail’s “blind tiger”, which he left late at night. They followed him, slipping behind him through the woods, but their hearts failing them until he was just passing out of the shallow of the forest into the open field near his cabin, when Hatfield sprang upon him and dealt a terrible blow on the back of the head with a heavy club, which brought him to the ground.
At this, the woman sprang upon him and stabbed him fiercely in the throat several times, while Hatfield crushed his skull with a heavy stone. The dead man’s pockets were hastily searched, his money nearly twenty dollars, was taken and divided, Hatfield also taking his knife. The two then separated, Hatfield going to his home, where he seems to have made no secret of the crime he committed.
Hatfield’s Arrest and Trial
Trail’s dead body was discovered the next morning and Hatfield was at once suspected. Soon arrested and charged with the crime, Hatfield at first told several conflicting stores, implicating at one time his wife and mother and at another a man named Collins. Collins was also arrested but on his trial Hatfield swore Collins knew nothing about it and accused Haney Jordan of the crime.
At Hatfield’s own trial, Hatfield swore Collins knew nothing and although when allowed to testify in his own defense he told substantially the same story, the Jordan woman’s part in the murder. For some reason she was not arrested, but was allowed to turn state’s evidence and it was largely her testimony that Hatfield was convicted. His case was appealed in the supreme court. Hatfield was sentenced to be hung on Dec. 16th. (there were a few sentences here I could not make out).
No More Violence
This crime, while lacking the exhibition of the fierce passion which has characterized some of the deeds of violence committed by other members of this notorious outlaw family, was fully as brutal as any of them, the savage nature of the young murderer being shown in the fearful crushing of Trail’s skull, after life must have left him.
Trail left some relatives who might have been disposed to avenge his death in the time honored fashion by taking his murderer’s life, had not the law so promptly been evoked and the murderer so speedily tried.
The sheriff of Hancock County, M.R. Buttry is also one of the most prominent men in the county, and a fearless officer and it was doubtless well known that any attempt at mob violence would be useless—Knoxville Sentinel.
Confession of Hatfield, The Jonas Trail murder made on the night after the death sentence., was passed upon him, as taken by a Courier Correspondent.
My name is Mirad Hatfield; my father’s name is Rafe Hatfield; my mother’s maiden name was Mary Harvel; I am 22 years old; I married Bob Lakin’s girl last March a year ago, but did not live with her more than two months.
For two months or more, before the murder of Trail, my wife and Haine Jordan began to beg me to kill Jonas Trail, for his money and wanted me to take my wife and leave the country with her. Jonas Trail was selling liquor at the county line; between Grainger and Hancock County, near Ball Point and Trail was boarding at C.D. Allen’s.
On Sunday, before the murder We-myself, my wife and Haine Jordan-layed the plan to kill Trail on Wednesday night following and accordingly on that night Haine Jordan and myself met at the time and place appointed, near Trail’s grocery and waited for him to come along. Soon after dark, Sterling Allen came and called Trail out from the house to the grocery to get some liquor.
He got his liquor and as Trail came along on his way back to the house we (me and Haine Jordan) was near the path in C.D. Allen’s field, Haine Jordan struck him in the head with a stick and knocked him down and I hit him in the head several times with a rock; then Haine Jordan stuck a case knife in his throat. Trail never spoke.
Then I searched his pockets and found a pocketbook with $18 in it; I also took his Barlow knife and the money; then we left him and went on down the road towards Myer’s store; we sat down in the road after we had passed the grocery and Haine Jordan counted the money and said there was $18 of it but she only gave me 7.92, I then went home and she went with me as far as the Liberty Church House and then left me. I never spent any of the money.
Soon my conscience began to trouble me so that I could not sleep nor rest anywhere. I know that Jonas Trail had always been a good friend to me and I could not rest day or night. One day Henry Jackson told me it would be better for the man that killed Trail to own it. I then told Jackson that It was me and Charley Collins who killed Trail.
The reason I told that Collins was implicated in the murder was because Haine Jordan got me to tell it. She said it would clear me and her. I told a lie on Collins; he was not there; he did not know anything about the murder. So far as I know there was nobody that knew or had any hand in the murder but my wife, Haine Jordan and myself.
After I told Jackson about it, I then went and gave myself up to Tip Livesay, a deputy sheriff of Hancock County at Ball Point in Grainger County. I was then taken before Esq. Jesse D. Greene, and given a preliminary trial, bound to court, and placed in the Sneedville jail, where I have been ever since.
I have been well and kindly treated by Sheriff Buttry ever since I have been in jail. I am now condemned to be hung on the 3rd day of July. I am to pay for the crime that me and Haine Jordan committed.
I would not care for being hung if I could see Haine Jordan on the scaffold by my side and knew that she was going to be hung too. For she is the one that got me into it. I would give the world if I had it, I had not done what I have, but my punishment to be hung is what I deserve, and Haine Jordan ought to be hung too.
I have nothing to say about the court or any of the officers of the law. I thank Judge Campbell for appointing for my defense the able council that he did. I do not entertain any hopes of ever going to any better world than this.
Some of the witnesses swore the truth on trial and some did not; but that does not matter for I am guilty anyway. My father has been married eight times and he is now in Kentucky. He left my mother thirteen or fourteen years ago and I have not seen him since.
I have been raised up in ignorance and debauchey all my life, I would advise all parents to train their children better than I have been trained. My mother has always kept a bad house and never gave me any good council.
I want all young men to shun the crime that I have committed.
My die is cast; my doom is sealed; and the day of my death is known. I have made some statements before about this murder, but as God is my judgment and I must soon meet him in judgment, this statement is true and any and all things told formerly in conflict with this confession is false.
I have now told all and don’t care to talk anymore at present.