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The Greene-Jones War Project

Project Goal:

The goal of this project is to collect information on the participants, places and events of the Greene-Jones feud, a late nineteenth-century Appalachian Mountain clan feud centered in Hancock County, Tennessee, in the United States, but some of the fighting spilled over into the Clinch Valley region of Hawkins County. It is reputed to be second only to that of the infamous Hatfield–McCoy feud in scale, duration, and number of people killed. Although some accounts are exaggerated, at least sixteen people, including one child, were killed during the course of the feud, and many others were seriously injured. [1]

Errors: Errors are bound to happen. I have tried to stay with newspaper articles as sources, but names are common among several different people of the time and some articles seem to conflict. If I have posted anything you know to be incorrect, please let me know the facts and your source through the comments section below the article.

Format: The history of the feud is presented chronologically in a Timeline. Each new paragraph of the Timeline begins with an event date followed by a short narrative. The narrative is backed up by transcriptions of articles from one or more of the newspapers of the day. Transcribed articles are block quoted in italics and each article is sourced back to the original publication, The Timeline section is followed by a participants section listing those who participated in, or were affected by the Greene-Jones Feud.

Contributors: Currently, this project just has one member: me. But if you have informtion to add, or would like to join this project, please contact me. Those who have contibuted to this project are:

  1. Bryan Lawson, whose great-grandfather married Martha Purkey-Greene, who was widowed by the feud.
  2. Deborah Travis, a great-granddaughter of George W. Greene, who had first-hand knowleddge about the shooting at Hampton's home,
  3. Frank Gilbert, the grandson of Western Gilbert, who's uncle was named after the governor who gave clemency to Western Gilbert.

Tasks: Here are some of the tasks that I think need to be done. I'll be working on them, and you are welcome to help. Because it is a living document, I have added a "Last updated" line just below the title.

  • Build a timeline of the events. - COMPLETE
  • Upload narratives and newspaper articles concerning the events - COMPLETE
  • Compile a list of those involved, injured or killed. - COMPLETE
  • Link to the biographies of those involved in the conflicts. - WORKING
  • Upload pictures of the participants.
  • Be sure to include sources if known

Will you join me? Please post a comment here on this page, in G2G using the project tag, or send me a private message. Thanks!

Edit below this line only, Thank you.

The Greene-Jones War

Latest update: 27 July 2023 Previous updates:

February 2023: - Corrected the name of Tennessee's governor who provided clemency to Western.
March 2022 - added new sources refined the timeline, reordered some events, corrected narrative, fixed typos and reformatted some sections.
Warning! This profile contains information about people or events that some readers may find upsetting


Although the Greene-Jones feud did not actually start until the "hog incident" around 1887, many discussions of the hostilities begin with a reference to the 1863 shooting of Alfred Greene, a Civil War conscientious objector, killed by Confederate-aligned bushwhackers just outside his own home. I suspect Alfred's story is used as a starting point for three reasons: First, the "shock value" of the narrative. Backed by a blood-stained article of clothing and a rifle housed in the East Tennessee History Museum, Alfred's story provides a shocking Introduction to the hostilities to come, and arouse interest in the overall narrative of the feud. Second, Alfred was the uncle of three of the earliest participants in the feud, and third, I believe Alfred's story provides a clear introduction into how the residual anger, fear, and desperation of the Civil War carried over in people's lives even after the war ended.-- Bryan T. Lawson.

Timeline of Events

Civil War Animosity

26 July 1863 -- As the American Civil War began to reach into East Tennessee, Hancock County divided along family lines between the Union and the Confederation. Although most in Hancock County proved loyal to the Union (source needed), Alfred Greene choose not take either side. He would not enlist in the Union army, and he did not want to be conscripted into the Confederate Army. So for his own safety, he stayed hidden in the mountains in seclusion. In 1863, he got word that his wife, Mary Elizaeth "Polly" Berry, had just given birth to their eight child, and he decided to visit her. Polly was the daughter of Thomas Berry, Justice of the Peace, and his wife Hannah.

Anticipating that he would return to his home to see his newborn child, three men who favored the Confederate side positioned themselves around Alfred's home and waited in ambush. They shot and killed Alfred just outside of his own home [2].

Alfred Greene's nightshirt - Knoxville News-Sentinel [3]
A Cream colored night shirt on display at the Museum of East Tennessee History helps tell Greene's story. The Hancock County farmer was wearing the shirt when he was killed July 26 1863. Bulletholes and faded stains of blood are still visible today. Greene would likely be called a conscientious objector today; He didn't want to fight for the Union or the Confederacy. In order to evade conscription into the Confederate army, he hid in the hills near his home. But that July evening, when it was dark, Greene came home to see his newborn son and check on his wife. Somehow three Confederate members of the neighboring Jones family learned he was home. The account told at the history center is that the men fired at Greene's home. Greene grabbed his rifle and ran towards a nearby shed (The rifle's also on display at the 601 S. Gay St. Museum) As he ran, he was killed. The murder helped escalate bad blood between the families into a feud that lasted until 1890 and was chronicled as "The Greene-Jones War." - The Knoxville News-Sentinel [3]

After the Civil war, Robert D. and David A. Greene, the brothers of Alfred, hunted down and executed two of the three men who they had determined had killed their brother. The third man was said to have gone crazy from the constant fear of being hunted down [4]. Robert later became the Clerk of the Court in Hancock County, and then Deputy Sheriff. He helped his son, Orlando "Lander" Greene become Deputy Sheriff as well [4].

End of the Civil War

Sunday, 9 April 1865, -General Robert E. Lee surrenders the Army of Northern Virginia to General Ulysses S. Grant at the courthouse in Appomattox, Virginia It would be another 16 months before President Andrew Johnson would declare a formal end to the conflict [5]. Despite the fact that the war had officially ended, there were those in the outer country sides who continued to routinely fight and kill along those partisan lines.

A fellow by the name of Chas. Jones, who was one of a gang of outlaws who infested the county of Hawkins, in Tennessee, was killed a few days ago, by Mr Lewis Horton, near Kingsport. Horton was watching at a fox-stand, when Jones approached and attacked him. Jones is the third of the gang who has gone up -- or rather down. They were in the habit of whipping and driving off rebels -- but they are done with that business now. - The Abingdon Virginian [6]

Saturday, 4 July 1868 - Fully two years after the end of the war, the separatist killings continued between those formerly aligned with the Union and those pledged to the Confederacy:

Murder. East Tennessee, under Brownlow's malignant influence, must be a perfect hell upon earth. On Saturday last a difficulty occurred in the vicinity of War Gap, in Hawkins county, by which two men, Lark Kyle and William Singleton, lost their lives. It appears that Singleton murdered Kyle in cold blood because he was a rebel; whereupon Kyle's friends immediately killed Singleton as an act of prompt and righteous judgment. This business of murder and assassination is so common in East Tennessee as hardly to excite attention. - Lynchburg Republican, Lynchburg, Virginia [7]

Friction between the Families

The Greenes and the Jones were neighbors, but there was no deeper relationship beyond that. There were even some signs of disrespect. One of the Greenes who would play a major role in the conflict was Hampton Greene, the son of Joel and Nancy (Slaton) Green. He married a cousin, Susan Greene, the daughter of Joel's brother, Richard, and his wife, Virginia (Trent) Green [4]. Susan was affectionately called "Sookie" by her family, but not by the Jones clan. Some of the young Jones boys would tease Susan, calling, "Here, Sookie, Sookie!" as if they were calling a cow [4].

Twenty-four years after Alfred's murder, one of the first newspaper accounts of a violent act between the Greene and Jones families appears:

Wednesday, 1 June 1887 - Thomas Greene, most likely the son of James and Lucy (Lanham) Greene, has an altercation with Jeff Miner, who was related in some way to the Jones (not proven). Thomas came upon Jeff Miner and found him mistreating a woman. Thomas Intervened and a fight occurred in which Thomas stabbed Jeff 22 times and shot him in the head with his own pistol [8].

Jeff. Miner, an ex-convict residing at Luther, Tenn., having attacked Thomas Greene, was stabbed twenty times and shot through the head. Minor died and Greene surrendered to the authorities. - The Milan Exchange, Gibson County, Tenn. [9] [10] [11]

Rogersville. On Wednesday, June 1st, an affair occurred between Tom Greene and Jeff Miner, In Lee Valley, on the line of Hancock and Hawkins counties. Greene was passing along the road and came upon Miner, who was abusing a woman, pulling her hair, and treating her roughly otherwise. Greene remonstrated with him. This enraged Miner and he drew his pistol and presented It at Greene and said that if he did not promise him then and there that he would not law him, he would kill him. Greene managed to open his knife in his pocket and on seeing an opportunity, grabbed hold of Miner's pistol with one hand and began to carve him up with the other. He managed to get the pistol from Miner, and after cutting him in twenty-two places, shot him through the head with the weapon. At last account Miner was still living, but it was thought to be a mortal wound. The difficulty began in Hancock county and ended in Hawkins. Greene surrender to the authorities of Hancock and was tried and bound over to court in a bond of $2,000. Miner Is well known here having been connected with several house burnings in Rogersville, some seven or eight years ago. He was an ex-convict and Is said to be a desperate fellow. - The Jonesborough Herald and Tribune, Jonesborough, Tenn. [12].

Stony Gap Church

Sunday, 26 June 1887 - Deputy Sheriff Lander Greene, son of Robert D. Greene, discovers William Hobbs at a church event at Stony Gap, on the border of Hawkins and Hancock Counties. Lander has a warrant for William's arrest, but William is carrying a gun. Lander is shot and killed, but not before he returns fire and wounds his assailant.

Bill Hobbs, A Tennessee outlaw, was shot dead near Nashville [sic] by Deputy Sheriff Green, after wounding the officer. - Daily Evening Bulletin, Maysville, Kentucky [13].
East Tennessee Skirmish.
June 29. A special from Knoxville, Tenn., says news comes from Strong [sic] Gap Church in Hancock county of a fatal shooting there last night. Will Hobbs, a member of an outlaw gang that has killed several men during the past few months, was In attendance at the meeting with a pistol buckled around him. Deputy Sheriff Green tried to arrest Hobbs and a fierce fight ensued in which both men were killed and a number of persons injured. - Wichita Eagle, Wichita Kansas[14]

editor's note: This event took place at Stony Gap, not Strong Gap, and William Hobbs did not die, he was eventually arrested in Texas six years later.

A special from Morristown says: A double tragedy occurred in Hancock county yesterday. About a year ago a man named Hobbs shot a man in Sneedville and left the country to evade prosecution. He returned a few days ago and attended services at a church in that county. Yesterday morning, Deputy Sheriff Green had a warrant for his arrest and attempted to serve it. Hobbs resisted and shot Green, the ball entering the right breast. After falling, Green rose to his knees and fired at Hobbs, who was running [away], hitting him in the back, the ball coming out at the left breast. Both are in a critical condition. The physicians say there is no chance for the recovery of either. - The Memphis Appeal [15]

Murder in Hancock.
[Supplement to the Knoxville Tribune]. Lee Valley, June 27 -- And still the day of murder is not passed. Yesterday, Sunday, at Stony Gap, about five miles south of Sneedville, a crowd of people had gathered to have a singing. Deputy Sheriff Green in walking around during recess spied a pistol in the pocket of "Bill" Hobbs and made an attempt to arrest him -- when Greene attempted the arrest, Hobbs jerked [the] pistol from his pocket and shot him twice through the body, one ball passing through just below the heart, the other one still lower down. As soon as his pistol was empty, he started to run when Green fired two shots at him, one taking effect in his left shoulder and the other through his back. They are both in a dangerous condition. It is not thought that either of them will get well. Hobbs is said to be a bad man. He shot a man by the name of Thompson over a year ago. It is not thought that Green will live through the day. Hobbs can't live, but a short time. Those make four men killed in the same neighborhood on the line of Hawkins and Hancock in the last few weeks, to-wit : Jeff Minor, Wm. Blankinbeckler and these last two. - The Comet, Johnson City, Tenn. [16].

The Comet article reported four deaths in Hancock county up to this point. They were: Jeff Miner, William Blankenbeckler, William Hobbs and Orlando Greene -- Jeff Miner was killed by Thomas Greene on the 1st of June of 1887; In April of 1887, in an event unrelated to the feud, George Morton killed his neighbor, 70-year-old William Blankenbeckler with an axe. Morton went to Blankenbeckler's home to gamble on cards. They were playing late into the night by the light of a torch when Morton accused Blankenbeckler of cheating and killed him with the axe. Morton was sentenced to twenty years' hard labor [17]; Although William Hobbs was shot through the chest, the article was incorrect in reporting his death. William Hobbs escaped to Texas and was finally arrested some six years later and charged with the murder of Sheriff Orlando Greene [18]; Following Orlando's death, his father, Robert Greene, moved his family to Sanger, Texas [19]

The Hog Incident

Richard 'Dick' Greene was said to be
the meanest man in the county

Christmas, 1887 – Folklore says that the actual start of the feuding was precipitated the week of Christmas by a wandering hog [8] [20]. The "Greene's side" of the feud was mostly comprised of Greene family members related by blood. Their leader, it would appear, was Richard "Dick" Greene who was sometimes referred to as "the meanest man in the county" and is credited with instigating the war [8]. The "Jones' side" was more of a loose confederation of friends and family members by marriage. In fact, there were several Greene family members sympathetic to the Jones' side. William Asa Jones, who went by his middle name, would become the emergent leader of "the Jones's side".

According to legend, this feud started over a hog. Apparently, some of the Joneses who lived on or near the Greenberry Green farm near Duck Creek were hauling logs down to the Clinch River to be floated to market in Chattanooga. Someone left the fence down after the Joneses crossed the property of one Richard "Dick" Greene and a hog belonging to Mr. Greene got through the fence and wandered up a hollow to a liquor still, ate and destroyed a considerable amount of mash; whereupon a second Mr. Jones decided to keep the hog to pay for the damage incurred. Mr. Greene came to claim the hog. An argument ensued. - The Rogersville Herald [21].

A different story says it was the Jones boys that had a hog that kept going through a hole in the fence. It eventually got into Richard Greene's corn field. Richard told Asa that he needed to fix the hole in the fence, but Asa chose to ignore the problem. A few days later, Asa came over to the Greene's place looking for his pig, but Richard Greene had killed it and stuffed it in the hole in the fence. When confronted by the angry Jones boys, an argument ensued. [8] Some versions of the story add that Richard Greene then took an axe and broke to pieces an iron cauldron that belonged to the Jones. [4]

Editor's Note: In my opinion, any version of the feud story that says they "killed the hog and stuck it in the hole it had crawled through" is likely untrue. (See Research Note #1 for an in-depth discussion on the genesis of the feud). - Bryan Lawson

Another Version

The 22 November, 1891 edition of the New York Sun carried a similar, but different version of the genesis of the feud [22] [23]. The Sun article begins with details of a different "family" feud in Hancock County and picks up the Greene-Jones Feud in Section V. editor's note: The Sun article was written four years after the events and there are questions concerning its validity. See Research Note #4 for more information.

Four years ago, however, another feud broke out.... This is the Green-Jones feud, which, next to the Sutton-Barnard feud is the worst that has ever caused deaths in Hancock county. Richard Green and Asa Jones were neighbors and friends. One day, about four years ago, Green saw that his hogs were limping and bleeding. He went along the mountain to find out the cause and came upon Asa Jones' son Jim stoning and dogging his hogs. Green fell to cursing and then to thrashing the boy, who yelled so loudly that old Asa came. Asa separated them and took up the quarrel. He ordered Green to go home. As Green was unarmed he went away sulkily, swearing that he would have revenge. - New York Sun [23].

First Blood

Sunday, 12 February 1888 -- One of Asa Jones' boys, James Jones, confronts Richard Greene and they argue. James curses at Richard, which triggers his anger. Later, they pass each other on the highway and Richard kills James. James' death begins a pattern of retribution; a feud whose violence will continue on and off for the next 20 years [24].

The war between the Jones and the Greene Factions has been waged with such persistency that killing of another man has rekindled the fires of hate. It is said that the trouble between the Jones and the Greene factions originated in a dispute concerning hogs. James Jones and Richard Greene fought, but neither was seriously hurt. On Saturday, February 12, 1888, Jones and Greene met on the highway. The latter waited until Jones got in front of him, when he fired four shots at him, one of the shots taking effect in the back, causing death some days afterward.’’ - The Middleburgh Post, Middleburgh, PA [25].

Shooting In Hancock -- Last Sunday Dick Greene and Jas. Jones, son of Asa Jones, got 'into a difficulty, when Greene shot Jones through the body. The bullet entered on the right side just above the hip and passed through the body coming out on the left side. It is considered a very dangerous wound. Greene went to Sneedville and gave himself up to the Sheriff of Hancock county. We have not been able to get any of the particulars, but from what we can learn there was an old grudge between them, and when they met on last unday, they undertook to settle it. Jones in all probability will die. They were both young men. Jones is about 18 years old. Greene is some older. This is a sad ending of a difficulty that may have grown out of a very slight misunderstanding. It is the outgrowth of the habit of carrying concealed weapons. Greene fired five shots at Jones, emptying all the chambers of his pistol. From what we can learn Jones did not shoot at all. The time has come when there should be a stop put to such lawlessness by the enforcement of the law. - The Rogesville Review [26].

A few days afterward Green and his wife were walking along the mountain road. Green had his three month's old baby in his arms. They met up with Jim Jones driving home in a wagon. As soon as Green got within range, he drew a pistol from his pocket and holding the baby in his left arm opened fire upon Jones. Three of his five shots entered Jones' body, but [Jones] managed to keep his seat until he got home. He was carried into the house and died a few days afterward. - New York Sun [23]


Sunday, 15 April 1888 -- The Greene brothers, Richard, Lincoln and Thomas Greene are out looking over their fields when they are ambushed by Asa Jones, James Pratt, and Lewis Moore. Richard and Lincoln escape unharmed, but Thomas is shot in the arm and it eventually has to be amputated.

Old Asa Jones was furious at this, and, getting together his relatives, he declared war against Green and all his tribe. They lay in wait one afternoon behind some rocks at a point where they knew Green came by with his two brothers. The first shot from the rocks warned the three Greens, and they jumped for the trees. The two parties fired at each other until dark. Richard Green was shot through the clothing. His brother James was so badly wounded in the arm that it had to be cut off. - New York Sun [22]. editor's note: It was actually Thomas Green, not James, that was badly wounded.

Rogersville Herald -- The Greenes and Jones of Hancock County got into another racket on last Sunday. It appears that while Richard, Lincoln and Tom Greene were out looking over their fields, they were supposedly ambushed by members of the Asa Jones family, one of whom Richard killed a few months since. Tom Greene was badly wounded in one of his arms while his brothers received no further injury than to have their clothes torn by some of the bullets. - The Rogersville Herald [21].

Knoxville, Tenn., April 20 -- The people of Hancock county are in a state of high excitement. Some time since a prominent citizen named James Jones was killed by Richard Green. Yesterday, while Lincoln and Dick [sic] Green, brothers of the murderer were passing along a public highway, they were fired upon and badly hurt. Their assailants were Asa Jones, father of James, and two men named Pratt and Moore. Warrants have been issued for the arrest of the trio. They have fled into the mountains, swearing they will never be captured alive. All the firearms in Rogersville have been purchased by friends of each faction, and more trouble is inevitable. - The Comet, Johnson City, Tenn. [27].

‘’’editor’s note:’’’ Lewis Moore mentioned is also known as Lewis Gilbert, brother ofWestern Gilbert and the sons of Letitia (Moore) Gilbert [28]

Monday, 16 April 1888 -- John Greene, another brother of Thomas, Richard, and Lincoln Greene, goes to the house of Asa Jones to confront him regarding the attack on his brothers. As he makes his exit, he is shot at and he fires a shot in return which is answered with a hailstorm of bullets, but no one is injured.

The shooting was renewed on Monday by John, another of the Green brothers, going to the house of Asa Jones, probably to investigate the shooting of the day previous, and on his leaving was likewise fired upon, and upon returning the fire, about thirty shots is said to have been exchanged, but no person is known to have been hurt. It is feared that the affair is not over with yet. - Rogersville Herald [29]

Lee Valley (April 30) -- The Jones' and Greene's trouble seems to be quelled for the present as I do not hear of any fresh outbursts from either party. Thos. [Thomas] Greene is convalescent with his arm but the physicians do not think it will have to be amputated. [21]

Asa's Home Burned

A typical Appalachian home of the period. [30]

Friday, 20 April 1888 – Asa Jones' house is destroyed by fire. The Jones order a large quantity of guns and ammunition, and prepare to retaliate against the Greenes [31]

Knoxville, April 24. – The Jones and Greene feud in Hancock county still progresses. The house occupied by old man Jones, father of the boy killed two months ago, was burned last night by the Greenes, and some of the inmates barely escaped with their lives. The Jones crowd ordered five Winchester rifles from a hardware house in this city to-day and another battle is imminent. - Knoxville, Tennessee [32]

Rogersville. April 24. – The Jones and Greene feud still progress in Hancock county. Last night the house of Jones, father of the boy killed, was burned with all the plunder. Today the Jones crowd ordered by telegraph five Winchester rifles from Knoxville. Another battle is expected soon. - The Knoxville Journal [33].

Tensions Increase

May 1888 - Several of the feudal participants on both sides are arrested and tried in Hancock County and indicted for felonious assault, including Lewis Gilbert and his younger brother, Western.

Who began this fight, no human being knows except those concerned, for each one's story differs and all were indicted for the offense, each being charged with feloniously assaulting the other. After this, each side began to increase and it seemed that every reckless, roving boy in the community would become volunteers in the " Jones and Greene War." Soon, the Jones party had twelve men armed with Winchesters roving the country to the terror of the people. The Greene party also increased. - The Knoxville Journal and triune, Knoxville, Tenn.[20]

Monday, 28 May 1888 -- After nearly two months of relative peace, there is another attack. Joel Greene and Harvey Ferrell are traveling down War Creek when they come under fire by Greene family members. Joel, the son of Larkin and Mahala (Trent) Greene, is a cousin to Richard, but sat sympathetic to the Jones. He was hit in the arm by a rifle ball and it had to be amputated [20].

Knoxville, Tenn., May 31 --The Jones Greene feud still rages in Hancock county. Another battle was fought Monday, during which Joel Greene was seriously wounded. Both sides go heavily armed. - The Daily Democrat, Huntington, Virginia [34]

Some time in May, while Joel Greene, a cousin to Dick but friend of the Jones' was in company of Harvey Ferrel [sic] and both were going down War Creek when they were fired on from the woods and Greene's right arm was shattered near the shoulder. The limb was amputated, and for this, a number of the Green crowd stand indicted. - The Knoxville Journal and Tribune, Knoxville, Tenn. [20]

Wednesday, 30 May 1888 -- An altercation breaks out between the Jones, Lewis Gilbert, James Pratt and the Greenes. The feud claims two more victims -- an unnamed son of Hampton (Hamp) Greene, and Dick Greene were both murdered. It was anticipated by one reporter that the bloodshed would end the fighting; by another that the end was nowhere in sight.

The Jones-Greene feud in Hancock county has probably come to an end. Lewis Moore and one of the Jones' had a regular pitch battle with the Greenes. The result was that two of the Greenes were killed, Dick and a young son of Hampton Greene. It is believed that this will end the trouble’’. - The Comet, Johnson City [35]

It is announced that the long-pending Jones-Greene feud in Hawkins county is ended by the result of the last encounter. The news is that Lewis Moore and one of the Jonses, last week, had a regular pitched battle with the Greenes, in which two of the Greenes, Dick and a son of Hamp Greene were killed. - The Morristown Gazette, Morristown, Tenn. [36]

A Tennessee Family Feud -- Knoxville, Tenn., June 2 – For the past three months a deadly feud has existed in Hancock county between the Jones and Greene families. A number of men have been killed and crippled on both sides and one of the Jones leader's house burned. The origin of the trouble is an old family feud. Information from that section is that the factions had a fierce battle Wednesday night, in which two more of the Greene crowd were killed and a number of the party seriously wounded. The end is not yet, and it is feared a military company will be needed to check the warring factions in their desire to exterminate each other. - Evening Bulletin, Maysville, KY [37]

Feudal Battle in Tennessee. Knoxville, Tenn. May 31. -- The Jones-Greene Feud still rages in Hancock county. Another battle was fought Monday, during which Joel Greene was seriously wounded. Both sides go heavily armed. - The Daily Democrat, Huntington, Indiana [38]

Hampton's Home Attacked

The St. Landry Democrat -7 July 1888

Saturday, 2 June 1888 -- Hampton Greene's home is surrounded and attacked by a group of Jones men who fired over 200 shots into his home, wounding many and killing his 5-year-old grandson, identified as Anderson Greene [39] who had hidden in the house to "stay with the men." After this shooting, Hancock County Sheriff Robert D. Greene ordered a boxcar load of rifles and ammunition in anticipation of continuing violence. [40]

On June 2, 1888, Dick Greene, Link Greene, J.H. Greene, Dan Greene and Patton Ferguson, who were stopping at the house of Hamp Greene, were attacked by the other side, who fired upon them from ambush. For several hours the fight continued, hundreds of shots being exchanged. Anderson Greene was killed. There were 12 men on the Jones side, against six on the other. Some time afterwards John Drinon [sic] was shot by William Nichols, who was at once shot and killed by Brownlow Pearson. Drinon died of the wound received. There was a cessation of hostilities while the Gilbert and Greene cases were in the courts but these having been settled, it would appear that the war is again to be waged, with what results, no one can foretell. - The Middleburgh Post, Middleburgh, PA [25]

Southern Gleanings – The Jones-Greene war in Hancock County still rages. A battle was fought recently at the residence of Hamp Green. During the progress of the battle a five-year-old child [39] was killed and several of the combatants were slightly wounded. Over two hundred shots were fired. A new invoice of rifles had been shipped to the scene of war. - St. Landry Democrat, Opelousas, LA [41]

After the din of battle had died away, and the belligerents had departed, the writer visited the scene of encounter. He found the house, doors and chimney shattered with bullets. Even the cherry trees, with their rosy fruit, and other fruit and ornamental trees had been cut to pieces by the leaden balls. The cows in the field near by did not escape, but were marked with many scars. But the saddest of all was a little, innocent, harmless boy, aged thirteen, who was killed - The Knoxville Journal and Tribune, Knoxville, Tenn. [20]

War Creek Church

War Creek Church as it may have
appeared in the late 1800's [42]

Thursday, 7 June 1888 -- John Devault is murdered by Western Gilbert. His body is discovered near War Creek Church by Dr. Yoe of Mooresburg. Dr Yoe had traveled over the mountain to amputate the arm of Joel Greene. On the way back across Clinch Valley, Dr. Yoe found the dead man by the side of the road. The man was later identified as John Devault, kin folk of the Jones family. Afterwards, members of both sides threatened the life of Dr. Yoe. He left Hawkins County and was never seen again. [8]

[John] Devault acted traitor with the Joneses. He was shot and killed from the ridge west of War Creek Church. They carried him into the church and laid him on an old pegged bench to stay overnight. Pleas Johnson stayed with him. Pleas said he would never forget that face and the eyes that were wide open and seemed to look at him all night. The next day they loaded him in a wagon and took him home. The pegged bench that still has traces of blood stains ins now in the Museum of Appalachia at Norris, Tennessee. [21]

The body of John Devault was found last Thursday (7 June 1888) in the road in Hancock county near the Green settlement. It was claimed that Devault, who stood in with the Greens, had betrayed them. Feelings ran high and Saturday Night some of the members of the two factions met and several of the Jones's were injured. The Greens warned the doctor to stay away. Sunday night, as a party of the Jones faction were escorting the doctor to visit their wounded, the Greens attacked them and 'Muley' Jones and Albert Martin of the Jones party were killed and one of the Greens fatally wounded. - The Evening Bulletin, Maysville, KY [43]

Sunday, 10 June 1888 – Despite a warning from the Greenes not to be seen in Hancock county again, Dr Yoe returns to treat more of the injured. His travel party is attacked.

Ambush - After some brief action the previous day in which several Jones men were wounded, Doctor Yoe enters the scene to treat them. The Doctor was warned by the Greenes to stay away, but came anyway. The Greene faction attacked. An unnamed man from the Greene side was mortally wounded. "Muley" Jones and Albert Martin of the opposing side were also killed. - Maysvill, KY [44]

Lewis Moore, one of the combatants, relates the story of Devault's murder to a newspaper journalist. As the story unfolds, it is revealed that he and his brother, Western Gilbert, aligned with the Jones clan, and had been arrested and sentenced to ten year's imprisonment for felony assault. They had escaped from the county jail and were hiding out in the woods around War Creek. On the day John Devault passed through, they suspected he was working a deal to turn them in to the authorities. They killed him for what they felt was betraying their trust.

News from The Seat of the War -- Lewis Moore, one of the Hancock County warriors, passed through this place Monday of this week: He was at Etter Brothers and bought some oysters and ate them in the store and while there gave an account of the killing of Devault in Hancock County last week. He said Devault acted traitor with Jones and his friends and that was the cause of him being killed. Dr. Yoe of this place went over the mountains to Hancock Co. to amputate the arm of one of the Greenes who had his arm badly broken by some of the warriors over there, and on his way back found a man by the roadside dead. Dr Yoe stopped at Joshus Davis' and informed him of the fact and Mr. Davis being a magistrate summoned Dr. Yoe and a jury and held a post mortem examination over the dead body. Dr Yoe has abandoned his practice in Hancock County for the present. [21]

Laying down Arms

Monday, 11 June 1888 – ‘’A report on the feud came out in the Swan Island News (Swan Island is West of Sneedville in the Clinch River) that the feud was abating some, that the Greene side had met and given up their arms the previous Monday and on Tuesday, a posse of about 60 men started in search of the other side. News came later they had found and arrested one. There was no other news at mat time, but it was thought the Joneses would relent and let civil law decide the trouble between the two families. The author opined that "both sides will finally submit to whatever is right and live under the reign of the civil law instead of the 'hail of bullets." [40]

Tuesday, 12 June 1888 – Hancock County Sheriff George Milburn, and James Brooks and a posse of thirty-six others go to arrest the Jones crowd. All had absconded but one, H.F. Ferrell. They captured and took him to Sneedville jail. The author of this accounting said, "I think if we had more such men as Sheriff Drinnon, Brooks and Milburn, we would have better times, which if ever needed it is now." [40]

Arrests Made

Thursday, 14 June 1888 – Western and Lewis Gilbert are arrested and tried in the lower court for their part in the killing of John Devault near War Creek Church. They would appeal, but It would be a year before their case is heard by the Tennessee Supreme Court [45]

The body of John Devault was found at War Creek Church. He had sided with the Greenes, but was discovered to be a traitor by both sides. Seven men from both sides attacked and killed him, including Western and Lewis Gilbert. Western narrowly escaped the gallows for his part in the crime, and Lewis received 10 years in prison. - Maysville, KY [46]

This trouble intensified the feeling between the factions and the number of supporters of Jones' and Greene's rapidly increased. All went armed, and it was not long before another fight occurred. Joel Greene, a cousin of the one that killed James Jones, but a friend of the Jones family, was in the company of Harvey Ferrell, on War Creek, when the Greene party fired upon therm. Greene's right arm was shattered and amputation was necessary. A number of the members of the Greene party were indicted. One week later, seven of the Jones faction were at War Creek Church when John Devault made his appearance. They accused him of acting as a spy and killed him. Several men were arrested for the murder of Devault, and two of them were found guilty. Western Gilbert, who was only 18 years old at the time the crime was committed, being sentenced to death, and his brother Lewis Gilbert, given 10 years' imprisonment. The others left the country. Western Gilbert took an appeal to the Supreme Court, which affirmed the decision of the lower court, but recommended the defendant to mercy. Governor Taylor, acting on this recommendation, commuted the sentence to life imprisonment. Lewis Gilbert succeeded in securing a new trial. - Middleburgh, PA [25]

Monday, 16 July 1888The Greene and Jones war has abated to some extent. On Friday, the 13th inst, John L. Wolfe with two others went and arrested Ase. Jones, but he made his escape. They are unwilling to give it up and they are still watching around for the Jones cowd. - Rogersville [47]

Wednesday, 6 November 1888 – As Western Gilbert is imprisoned in Nashville for the murder of John Devault, two more combatants are killed in Hancock County.

The War of Extermination – Renewal of Hostilities Between the Jones and Greene Families: The latest developments in the war between the Jones and Greene families, in Hancock county, Tenn., are of more than ordinary interest. Up to date six lives have been lost, two men are maimed for life, two have been sentenced to imprisonment for ten years and one to imprisonment for life. The latter, Western Gilber, [sic] who killed John Devault, an adherent of the Greene faction and was sentenced to be hanged this month but executive clemency saved him from the gallows; was placed in the state prison in this city. He is only 18 years of age. [25]

On this day [6 November a year ago], Western Gilbert had been sentenced to be hung for the murder of John Devault. Western was 18 years old. The Supreme Court recommended mercy, and Governor Taylor accepted, reducing his sentence to life imprisonment. Shortly after the trial, the Jones attacked many key players for the Greene side: the remaining Richard "Dick" Greene, Lincoln "Link" Greene, J. H. Greene, Daniel Greene, and Patton Ferguson. Anderson Greene was killed in the crossfire. Two other feud-related deaths after the trial of Western Gilbert were William Nicholas and John Drinnon. - Daily Examiner, Connersville, IN [48]

The Petition

Rogersville, Tenn. - A petition is being circulated in this (Hawkins) county asking that the governor commute the life imprisonment the capital sentence pronounced upon Weston [sic] Gilbert of Hancock county. A similar petition is being circulated in Hancock county. Gilbert was connected with the Greene-Jones killing in Hancock county. He is but a boy, only about eighteen years of age, and it is alleged was not engaged in the Greene-Jones war in his own account, but was forced into it. - Chattanooga Daily Times. [49]

The Luther Post Office

Wednesday, 30 October 1889 – Hampton Greene runs into his nephew in the Luther Post Office and asks him to sign a petition to get his sons, Dick and Dave, out of prison. James refuses and Hampton picks up a weight from the scale to throw at James. James draws a weapon on his uncle, but misses and hides behind a counter Hampton pulls up his rifle and shoot James.

James "Jim" Greene
The Rogersville Herald: -- Murder In Hancock County
Hamp Greene kills his nephew, James Greene - Another chapter in the Jones-Greene war. News reaches us of another murder in our neighbor county - Hancock, which occurred in Livesay's store at Luther P.O. Wednesday morning Oct 30. It appears that Hamp Greene belongs to the Greenes and James Greene to the Jones faction, which is now having war with each other for some time and that Hamp now had two sons in the penitentiary for killing a brother of James Greene in one of their battles, and that he was circulating a petition to the Governor asking for the pardon of his sons, and upon meeting James Greene on Wed. morning at the above named place, asked him to sign the petition, and upon his refusal to do so some hot words passed between them, and it is said Hamp Greene drew a weight upon James and threatened to strike him with it, when James drew his ever ready Smith and Wesson and began to fire upon him, and after several shots had been fired without effect, Hamp dropped the weight and raised his Winchester rifle and shot James squarely in the forehead, killing him instantly. then walked leisurely to his home without any attempt being made to arrest him, and we understand is still at large. This unhappy continuation of the Jones-Greene feud is greatly to be regretted, as it will keep up the bad name of Hancock co. abroad and seriously injure its future prosperity.

Advices from the seat of the war in Hancock county are to the effect that Hamp Greene, who a day or two ago [30 Oct 1889] shot and instantly killed James Greene, a relative, but arrayed on the side of the opposition faction, has fled, and that a hot chase is being made by forces with which James Greene operated at the time of his death. Hamp Greene's friends are, it is thought, concealing him, and should the two factions meet, the results would be of an exciting character. Two of Hamp Greene's sons were recently in trouble, it is said, for shooting a brother of James Greene. This led to a quarrel between Hamp and James, who met in a country store. The former threw a weight at the latter, who fired at his assailant, but without effect. He then ran behind the counter and was pursued and shot through the head by Hamp. Death was instantaneous, and Hamp disappeared. [25]

4 November 1889 - Western Gilbert is imprisoned in Nashville.

Nashville, Nov. 5. -- The latest development in the war between the Jones and Greene families in Hancock county are of more than ordinary interest. Up to date six lives have been lost, two men are maimed for life, two have been sentenced to imprisonment for ten years and one to imprisonment for life. The latter, Western Gilbert, an adherent of the Greene faction, who was sentenced to be hanged this month, but was saved from the gallows, was yesterday [4 November 1889] placed in the state prison in this city. He is only 18 years of age. - The Meriden Daily Republic [51].

14 November 1889 – Hampton Greene goes into hiding.

Wade Hampton Greene
Hamp Greene kills his nephew, James Greene. James, having sided with the Jones family in this conflict, was shot and killed by his uncle in a general store. Hamp Greene went into hiding to avoid arrest and retaliation. Other Greene men had taken such measures, knowing they would be shot on sight by the other side. [52]

The Spring House Murder

Sunday, 30 March 1890 – Justice of the Peace Thomas Berry is shot and killed by Asa Jones who was hiding in his spring house.

Rogersville Review – A Bloody Assassination. Last Sunday afternoon [30 March] Thom. J. Berry, a Justice of the Peace in the 19th District of this county [Hawkins], went to his spring to get some water and to arrange some things in the spring house that had been torn up by high waters the evening before. Just as he stepped to the door of the spring house a shot was fired from a pistol, the ball entering at his left eye and comeing [sic] out at the back of his head, striking some boards protruding and falling to the ground. Mr. Berry fell backwards and died instantly. The assassin jumped out over his victim's body and made good his escape. A man by the name of F. M. Burton was with Mr. Berry at the time of the shooting. He saw the man running away and recognized him, but up to the time of this writing, he has not told who he was. 'The Coroner’s jury held an inquest over the body of Thos. J. Berry and rendered a decision "that Thomas J. Berry came to his death from a pistol shot fired by the hands of Asa Jones." Asa Jones is the leader on the Jones side of the Greene-Jones war of last summer in Hancock county. He was seen near the spring house about sundown on Sunday. The killing occurred just after dark. [53]

Rogersville, Ten., May 19 -- The readers of the SENTINEL will perhaps remember something of the Green and Jones war which was in full-blown blast along the line between Hancock and Hawkins counties some thing more than a year ago. The result of that war up to this date is about this: Lewis Gilbert and Western Gilbert were tried in Hancock county at the May Term of the court, 1889,, for the murder of Anderson Green, and got ten years each in the penitentiary. At the same term of the court, Western Gilbert was also tried for the murder of John Devault and sentenced to death. From both judgements he appealed to the supreme court and Lewis Gilbert also appealed from his sentence of ten years. Each of the sentences were affirmed; but the sentence of death pronounced against Western Gilbert was commuted by Gov Taylor to a life sentence in the penitentiary. Asa Jones, Tip Jones, James Pratt, alias Trent, Geo. Cobb, Harvey Ferrell and Sam Burton are all under indictment for the murder of Anderson Greene and for felonious assaults in other cases. Tom Jones in under indictment for a felonious assault on John Green. All of the above parties belonged to the Jones gang.
Of the Green gang, Hampton Greeen is indicted for the murder of Jim Green, who was a friend to the Jones crowd. Richard Green for the murder of James Jones, son of Asa Jones, was sentenced at the same term of the court to ten years. Dan Green, David Green and Lincoln Green each got one year for a felonious assault on Joel Green. Those who have not been sentenced are still at large except Sam Burton and Asa Jones. Asa Jones is the chief of the Jones gang, and Richard green led the Greens. Some two months ago, Thomas J. Berry, Esq. of Hawkins county, was mysteriously murdered.... - The Evening Sentinel. [54]

Asa Jones Surrenders

Thursday, 15 May 1890 – After a year on the run, Asa Jones Surrenders for the murder of Justice Berry to Hawkins County Sheriff Henry Davis. He requests to be represented by a Hancock County lawyer

Rogersville Herald -- Ace [sic] Jones, the leader on the Jones side i.n the late Jones-Greene war in Hancock co, after scouting and evading the officers of the law for over twelve months, gave himself up last Thursday, to Deputy Sheriff Henry Davis, of the 13th District of this [Hawkins] county, and expressed himself ready for trial upon the charge of killing Thomas J Berry of this county which was preferred against him by the Jury of inquest, and conveyed him a prisoner to the Hancock county jail, to await trial upon charges preferred upon him there. [55]

The news of Jones' surrender spread quickly, and before the trial began on Friday morning, a large crowd gathered at the courthouse and the judge, fearing trouble between them, dismissed the suit, to let it go before the Grand Jury. Hancock officers escorted him to the Hancock County jail, to await trial.

Rogersville Review - Nolle Prosequi [56] entered. As the finale to the late Greene-Jones war in Hancock county the last suit pending against Asa Jones, the leader on the Jones side, was nolle prossed at Tazewell last week. The Greenes have been tried and convicted. Two or three of them have been sent to the penitentiary and in justice to them they should be released if Jones is to go free. Both sides were at fault and if one is allowed to go free all should be treated fairly alike. - That was a bloody war in which about a dozen were killed. Both sides lost friends. The bitter feelings ran high and men were shot down like wild beasts. It is to be hoped that there will be no more blood ahead in that county. [57]

Tuesday, 23 September 1890 - The trial of Asa Jones ends. Asa is acquitted and released.

From the Rogersville Herald:
The noted Asa Jones murder trial, after a continuance of five days, came to an end Tuesday, with the verdict of acquittal by the jury. Some of the ablest speeches listened to in the court house for several years, were made on both sides. Asa Jones will be taken back to Hancock Co, TN where he stands charged with implicity in the Jones-Greene trouble, but as we understand a compromise has been affected in these cases, he will be permitted to give bond, and thus be a free man once more. B. Seal, reporter. [58]

It's Not Over Yet

Saturday, 10 December 1892 - Thomas Greene's son Henry is killed. The murderer makes a shallow attempt to make it look like a suicide.

An Old Feud Reopened. Johnson City, Tenn. - The shooting of Henry Green, who was found in the road with a pistol bullet in his brain, is regarded as a signal for the reopening of the Green- Jones war in Hancock County. As a consequence of the feud between these families, twenty people have been killed, more are in the penitentiary and others have left the country. [59]

Thomas Greene was one of the key players for the Greene side of the feud since the beginning. His son Henry was found shot to death on his father's farm. Casual attempts were made at the appearance of a suicide. [60]

Cleaning Up

Saturday, 25 November 1893 - Hiram Church travels to Texas to arrest William Hobbs, who had shot ank killed Deputy Sheriff Lander Greene six yeas earlier.

Bounty Hunter Hiram Church travelled to Texas to reclaim one of the last fugitives. William Hobbs murdered Deputy Sheriff Greene as part of the feud. Having been convicted of the murder, he was released on $10,000 bail and skipped town. He was arrested in Texas for another crime when Church, who paid his bond, caught wind of his chance to bring Hobbs back to Tennessee. The final death count according to his report is 18 people. [61]

Twenty Years Later

November 28 1900Richard Greene. the perpetrator of the first killing of the feud 14 years previous, attempts to kill his wife and daughter. Having failed in that endeavor, he kills himself. The shot ignites his clothing and burns them from his body. His wife's hand was injured and had to be removed. His death ends the ongoing violence. [62]

Tennessee Mountaineer Wounds Wife and Daughter, Afterwards, kills himself.
Sneedville, Tenn. – In Hancock county, in the mountains of upper east Tennessee, Richard Green probably fatally shot his wife and daughter and then shot and killed himself. The discharge of the gun ignited his clothing, and when found his apparel was burned from his body. It is supposed jealousy or in sanity was the cause of the deed. Green, it is said, did the first killing in the Jones-Green feud, 10 or 12 years ago. [63]

Knoxville, Tenn. - News has reached this city that Dick Green [sic], of Luther, Hancock county, the noted leader of the Green-Jones war, had shot and fatally wounded his wife, accidentally wounded his child and then, killed himself. The facts, as received, are that Green and his wife had separated, and the wife had gone to live with a neighbor. Green was passing the place, and called her to the road to ask her to send for her clothing, which she declined to take away with her. She told him she would neither send for nor go after her clothes, where upon he seized her by the arm and attempted to take her home by force. She resisted. He shot her through the head with a shotgun. A part of the gun’s load took effect in the body of one of his children, but it is said that the child was not seriously hurt. After shooting his wife and child, Green went across a hill near the scene of the trouble and shot himself. When found, he was dead. The corpse, it is said, was standing stiff and stark against a telephone pole where his life blood had oozed out from a wound in his breast. He was entirely naked; his clothing having caught on fire from the gunshot and burned into ashes. Dick Green was a desperate man and he was credited with having ended the lives of several of those who sided with the Joneses In a long-standing feud. His death will probably end the feud. [64]

October 7 1942 – Lincoln "Link" Greene, the last of the feud's participants, dies and is buried.

Lincoln Greene, the last survivor of the Greene-Jones feud, is buried. The feud was not the end of gun related violence in his life, having shot his son-in-law and been prosecuted by his daughter. He served time in the penitentiary for that crime, perhaps the only time in his life he was ever accountable for the lives he impacted through violence. [65]

Lincoln Greene, 82, the last surviving participant in the Greene-Jones feud of 40 years ago. was buried here Wednesday. Although he was accused of shooting several others and had been recently shot at himself, he died peacefully Tuesday while seated at breakfast at the home of his daughter, Mrs. Cinda Lawson, five miles South of here. The Greene-Jones feud made the front pages of newspapers over a large part of the United States 40 years ago. Cause for the bitterness is generally forgotten by people living here today. Lincoln Greene, who was adept at the rifle, did his last shooting more than three years ago, the time he shot his son-in-law, the result of which he was prosecuted by his own daughter, and was arrested and sentenced to serve a term in the penitentiary. He was released a short time before his time was up. [66]

Participants in the Greene-Jones War

(listed alphabetically by last name)

On the Greene Side

  • Daniel Greene (1867- ) -- Dan was the son of Hampton and Susan "Sookie" Greene. He was visiting the home of his father when it was surrounded and attacked by the Jones. He was arrested for murder and sentenced to ten years imprisonment.
  • J.H. Greene ( - ) He was visiting the home of Hampton Greene when it was surrounded and attacked.
  • Lincoln "Link" Greene (1860-1942) -- "Link" was the son of James and Lucy (Lanham) Greene and the brother of Richard and Thomas Henry Greene. He was ambushed by the Jones while looking over his fields but was uninjured. He once dressed as a woman ride past the Jones to resupply his ammunition. Was said to have been hired to kill Eli Greene, the son of "Rich" Tom Greene. Later he "got religion" and a small group of followers built a church. He dressed in Biblical clothing. He made coffins for himself and his wife and climbed in them when he had visitors. He begged to be locked up at night for fear of his desire to kill, and tried to kill his family before killing himself. Ironically, he was the longest-living survivor of the feud. [67]
  • Richard "Dick:" Greene (1846 -1902) Richard was the son of James and Lucy (Lanham) Greene and the brother of Lincoln and Tom Greene. He was also the nephew of Alfred, Robert D. and David Greene. He was a primary participant and one of the earliest involved in the feud. He was considered a very mean man. [68] Most likely, it was his hog that destroyed Jones property and started the conflict. He approached Asa Jones about returning his hog, but an argument followed. He is said to have taken an axe and break a large iron cook pot of Asa's. He shot and killed James Jones, Asa's son. Later, he was ambushed by the Jones, but escaped uninjured. Richard shot his second wife, Mary (Anderson) Greene and then killed himself. Mary did not die, but she did lose her arm. Note: There was more than one Richard or "Dick" Greene See Research Note #2.
  • Richard "Dick" Greene (1869- ) -- Dick was the son of Hampton and Susan Greene. He was visiting the home of hs father when it was surrounded and attacked by the Jones. He was arrested for murder and sentenced to ten years imprisonment. Note: There was more than one Richard or "Dick" Greene See Research Note #2.

On the Jones Side

  • Joel Greene (1852-1926) Joel was a cousin of the Richard Greene that killed James Jones, bu he was a friend of the Jones family. He was in the company of Harvey Ferrell on War Creek, when the Greene party fired upon therm. Joel Greene's right arm was shattered and had to be amputated.
  • William Asa Jones (1845 -1927) -- Asa was the patriarch of the Jones family. He was said to have kept Richard Greene's hog in exchange for the corn it ate or destroyed. His son , James, was murdered by Richard. He and others took part in an ambush of the Greene brothers, Lincoln, Tom and Richard in which Tom lost his arm. Asa's home was burned by the Greenes in retaliation. As a final act, he murdered Justice Thomas Berry and eventually turned himself in.
  • "Muley" Jones ( - ) -- "Muley" was killed in the sporadic attacks following the murder of John Devault near the War Creek Church.
  • Jeff Miner ( -1887) -- Jeff was a relative of Asa Jones and a convicted criminal. He was physically abusing a woman when he was met on the road by Thomas Greene. In an effort to stop the abuse, a fight ensued and Jeff pulled a gun on Thomas. Thomas got the gun and shot Jeff through the head. The shot was lethal and Thomas turned himself in to the Hancock County Sheriff.
  • Lewis Moore ( - ) -- Lewis participated in the fighting that resulted in the death of Dick Greene and a son of Hampton Greene'.
  • James Pratt ( - ) James, along with Asa Jones and Lewis Gilbert attacked Richard, Lincoln, and {#TG|Tom Greene]] as they surveyed their fields. Tom Greene lost his arm after being shot.

Neutral or Unknown Alliance

  • Thomas J. Berry ( - ) -- Thomas, Hancock County Justice of the Peace, was shot and killed by Asa Jones who was hiding in his spring house.
  • Henry Davis ( - ) -- Henry was the Deputy Sheriff to whom Asa Jones surrendered in 1890.
  • John Devault ( - ) -- John was initially on the side of the Greene's, however, he was killed by Western GIlbertfor betraying the Greene's trust. The murder sparks a quick series of retribution and retaliations.
  • Patton Ferguson ( - ) -- Patton was stopping at the house of Hamp Greene, when it was attacked by the Jones.
  • David Nathaniel Green -- David was the son of Richard and Virginia Jane (Trent) Greene, and the brother of Alfred and Robert D. Green. David was a Union soldier during the Civil War. His brother, Alfred, who choose not to fight in the war, was shot and killed by bushwhackers. After the war, David and his brother, Robert, hunted down and killed two of the three men who had murdered his brother. David later moved his family to Coleman, Texas.
  • Mary Polly (Berry) Green ( - ) Mary was the wife of Alfred Greene who was murdered by bushwackers when he came out of hiding to see his newborn child. Neither Mary nor the child was injured.
  • Orlando "Lander" Greene (1860-1887) -- Lander was the son of Robert D. Greene and a Deputy Sheriff for Hancock County. He was shot twice while trying to arrest William Hobbs, a murderer with a warrant for his arrest. Deputy Lander returned fire, killing Hobbs before he died himself.
  • Robert D. Green (1841-1905) -- Robert was the son of Richard and Virginia Jane (Trent) Greene, the brother of Alfred and David A. Green. His wife was related to the wife of Asa Jones. Robert was a Union soldier during the Civil War. His brother, Alfred, who choose not to fight in the war, was shot and killed by bushwhackers. After the war, Robert and his brother, David, hunted down and killed two of the three men who had murdered his brother. Robert later became Sheriff of Hancock County. He ordered a boxcar load of rifles and ammunition in anticipation of escalating violence between the Greenes and Jones. His son Orlando, also a Hancock Co. Deputy Sheriff, was killed in the line of duty. Robert eventually moved his family to Sanger, Texas.

Research Notes

Research Note #1.

The Genesis of the Feud is not definitively stated. The popular cause for the start of the conflict between the Jones and the Greenes is an escaped hog. It is known that both the Jones and the Greenes lived in separate counties, but had a history of animosity between them. Many, when discussing the cause for the bitterness, begin with the murder of Alfred Greene, although that was almost a decade prior to most documented activity of the fued. Some have said that the anger started over an affair between one of the Jones boys and the married daughter of one of the Greene's. [8] But by far, the overwhelming story is that a wandering and destructive hog was the precipitating event for the conflict. In one version, a historian writing in the Rogersville newspaper said it was Asa Jones' hog that broke through the fence to feast on Richard Greene's corn, and an angry Richard killed the hog and stuffed the hole in the fence with it. More common, it is Richard Greene's hog that got through the fence either when the Jones were pulling logs across Greene land and left the fence down, or by simply breaking through the fence. In this version, the hog eats and/or destroys a aupply of corn mash that Asa was going to use to make whiskey. (Asa was known for his corn whiskey and Apple Brandy). Asa gets mad and stuffs the fence with the dead hog.
It is not likely that either version of the story is true here. In both scenarios, the hog destroyed the assets or the livelihood of one of the people involved. We know this was not a wild hog, because it was fenced in, and ownership is implied. A domestic hog would have been a vluable commodity, supplying enough meat to feed a family for several months, or it could be sold. Therefore, the hog itself could serve as compensation for the damage it did. It is unlikely that either man would be so spiteful and wasteful as to kill something as valuble as a hog and use it simply to stuff a hole in a fence to prove a point.
The most plausible scenario is that the Greene's hog got into Asa's corn, and when he went to reclaim it, Asa kept it for compensation, Angered, Richard destroyed a cauldron, also a part of Asa's livelihood, then Asa's sons got involved and we see the conflict escalate.

Research Note #2.

There is more than one Richard Greene, and they may be confused. Three candidates for this Richard are: the son of Jeremiah Greene, the son of Hampton Greene, and the son of James and Lucy (Lanham) Green. Jeremiah's son was in his nineties by this time, too old to be the shooter. According to the Rogersville Review, quoted in Johnson City's Comet <ref="shooting" />, "they were both young men. Jones is about 18 years old. Greene is some older." This led me to believe that this Richard was Hampton's son, who was the right age (he was 19) and was later sentenced to prison for killing a man. However, I foundanother article that placed Richard in his 40's, and Richard the son of James and Lucy (Lanham) Greene, is the likely candidate because he was in his 40's. Further, he and his brothers, Lincoln and Tom Greene were attacked in retaliation by the family and supporters of Asa Jones.

Research Note #3.

Anderson Greene was the grandson that was identified as killed in the massive shooting at Hampton Greene's home [4]. He was 5 years old and living in the home of Hampton in the 1880 Census [69] However, the shootings did not happen until 1888. Anderson would have been 13 at the time of his shooting. It is likely that the child killed was not Anderson, but another child who may or may not have been born in time for inclusion in the 1880 census, despite Anderson being specifically named. [25]
A great-granddaughter of George W. Greene, who was involved in the shooting at Hampton's home, said, "I'm from the Greene side. My great grandfather George W. Greene was involved in this at Hamp's house. He said the boy who was shot and killed [was] Anderson Greene they buried him behind Hamp's house. Anderson wanted to stay with the men to help load and they let him. He was under the bed. Im not sure but I think Anderson was Hamp's grandson. This was told from my great-grandfather to my aunt who is soon to be 99. I sure wish I could have known my great-grandfather. would have loved to hear all his stories. My mother told me that he had been shot in the face. She said he told her the bullet went in one side of his mouth knocked out some teeth and he spit the bullet out and he carried it around in his pocket for years. Not sure if that was true but one other aunt told me that is what she heard." [70]

Research Note #4

The validity of the New York Sun, 29 Nov 1891 source is questionable. Written about five years after the events, it appears to be based on information passed down by word-of-mouth rather than first-hand knowledge. The evidence is the several serious discrepencies: 1) In the hog story, there is no mention of the fence or the corn, which are key elements in all the other accounts. 2) In the report of the ambush againt the Green brothers, Thomas is incorrctly identified as James. who is Thomas' father, and 3) In the recount of the attack on Hampton's home, the child involved is identified as "Jimmie," but the child killed in Hampton's home was a grand-child, Anderson.
Coincidentally, A YouTube post by Brandon Meek titled, "Greene Jones War" [71] also reports that it was a nine-year-old boy, "Jimmie", that was killed in Richard's home, not Hampton's home, during the ambush. However, the "Greene Jones War" video has serious name and locations errors.


  1. Coggins, Allen R. (2012). Tennessee Tragedies Natural, Technological, and Societal Disasters in the Volunteer State (1st ed.). Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press. p.241. ISBN 978-157233829.
  2. Greene, Alton, in notes and letters recorded in "Echoes from Vardy", an article by William Grohse in the Rogersville Review, date unknown.
  3. 3.0 3.1 McRary, Amy, "A Widow, a new father among those caught in war's violence." The Knoxville News-Sentinel, (Knoxville, Tennessee), 1 Sep 2013., p. 55 .
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 Greene, Alton. Greene Family Tree of Jeremiah and Anne Hartley Greene, 1700-1970. (limited printing) Claude Greene, Pineville, Louisiana, 1970. (Anderson Greene p. 24) (Asa Jones p 17) (Robert and David Greene p. 20)
  5. Pruitt, Sarah, "Why The Civil War Actually Ended 16 Months After Lee Surrendered," an article on, [1], 1 September 2018.
  6. The Abingdon Virginian, (Abingdon, Virginia), Friday, 18 January 1867, p3.
  7. Lynchburg Republican, quoted in The Daily Dispatch, (Richmond, Virginia), 11 July 1868. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. <>.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 Ferrell, Rodney, " Bloody Feud – Remembering the Greene-Jones Feud”, ‘’Rogersville Review (Rogersville, Tennessee) 26-27 June 2010, page 6A.
  9. The Milan exchange. (Milan, Gibson County, Tenn.), 18 June 1887. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. <>
  10. The Bolivar Bulletin, (Bolivar, Tennessee), 1 June 1887.
  11. The Nashville Banner’’, (Nashville, Tennessee), 11 June 1887, p.2.
  12. Herald and Tribune. (Jonesborough, Tenn.), 16 June 1887. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. <>.
  13. Daily Evening Bulletin (Maysville, Kentucky), 30 June 1887. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. <>
  14. Wichita Eagle. (Wichita, Kansas), 30 June 1887. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. <>
  15. The Memphis Appeal. [volume] (Memphis, Tenn.), 29 June 1887. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. <>
  16. The Comet. (Johnson City, Tenn.), 07 July 1887. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. <>
  17. The Journal and Tribune', (Knoxville, Tennessee), 14 Nov 1888, p. 1.
  18. "Caught in Texas", The Knoxville Sentinel, (Knoxville, Tennessee) 25 November 1893.
  19. "United States Census, 1900," database with images, FamilySearch ( : 5 August 2014), Texas > Denton > ED 54 Justice Precinct 5 > image 13 of 29; citing the household of Robert D. Green.
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 20.3 20.4 "Bloody Hancock," The Journal` and Tribune, (Knoxville, Tennessee), 1 June 1889
  21. 21.0 21.1 21.2 21.3 21.4 Unnamed contributor (likely Alton Greene) to the Hancock County Historical and Genealogical Society. Hancock County Tennessee and Its People. Walsworth Publishing, USA, 1989. Vol.1. (the hog incident p. 35) (retaliation p 39).
  22. 22.0 22.1 Brown, Katy Lawson, et al. Moonshine, Feuds & Malungons 1891 The New York Sun, , a collaborative document in the GIBSON'S, COLLINS AND LINKING FAMILIES FROM NEWMANS RIDGE, group, [2]posted 28 Jan 2018 on, accessed 15 Feb 2022.
  23. 23.0 23.1 23.2 "Tennessee Mountaineers", The Sun,<,0.09,0.718,0.321,0>, (New York, New York), 22 Nov 1891, p. 27.
  24. Tryniski, Thomas, Old Fulton New York Post Cards database, ( : 23 Apr 2015) citing "Jones vs Greene" Saint Paris Era-Dispatch, (Saint Paris, OH) 14 Nov 1889, p. 2, col 1.
  25. 25.0 25.1 25.2 25.3 25.4 25.5 "Jones vs. Greene." The Middleburgh Post. (Middleburgh, Snyder Co., Pennsylvania), 14 Nov. 1889. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. (
  26. "Shooting in Hancock", The Comet (Johnson City, Tennessee), 23 Feb 1888. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. (
  27. "Another Feud Started," The Comet (Johnson City, Tennessee), 26 Apr 1888. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. (
  28. "United States Census, 1870," database with images, FamilySearch ( : 14 June 2019), Tennessee > Hancock > District 06 > image 9 of 24; citing Lewis H. (4) and Western Gilbert (1) in the home of their grandmother, Elizabeth Moore (55) and mother, Letitia Gilbert (22).
  29. Rogersville Herald, (Rogersville, Tennessee), 21 April 1888, p.2.
  30. image courtesy of Tennessee State Library and Archives, 403 7th Avenue North, Nashville, TN 37243. Free for use.
  31. Knoxville Journal and Tribune (Knoxville, Tennessee, 25 April 1888.
  32. A Knoxville newspaper in a Special Dispatch to The American, printed in the Tennessean, (Nashville, Tennessee), 25 April 1888.
  33. "The Jones and the Greenes." The Comet. (Johnson City, Tenn.), 26 April 1888, quoting from the Knoxville Journal. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. (
  34. The Daily Democrat, (Huntington, Virginia), 31 May 1888.
  35. The Comet. (Johnson City, Tenn.), 07 June 1888. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. (
  36. The Morristown Gazette. (Morristown, Tenn.), 6 June 1888
  37. "A Tennessee Family Feud." The Evening Bulletin.(Maysville, Kentucky), 2 June 1888, Vol. VII, No.166. [3].
  38. The Daily Democrat [4], (Huntington, Indiana). 31 May 1888.
  39. 39.0 39.1 (see Research Note #2)
  40. 40.0 40.1 40.2 Patterson, Lowell. "Greene-Jones Feud Turned Into Bloodshed in Hancock County in 1800s," Rogersville Review (Rogersville, Tennessee), 26 Sept 1991, p. A3.
  41. "Southern Gleanings." St. Landry Democrat. (Opelousas, La.), 07 July 1888. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. (
  42. Image courtesy Tennessee State Library and Archives
  43. The Evening Bulletin. (Maysville, Ky.), 14 June 1888. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. (
  44. “A Tennessee Family Feud” The Evening Bulletin, (Maysville, KY) 14 Jun 1888, p. 4, col 2. Chronicling America database, Library of Congress ( : 23 Apr 2015)
  45. "Sentenced to Hang," The Knoxville Evening Sentinel. (Knoxville, Tennessee), 24 September 1889.
  46. "A Tennessee Family Feud", The Evening bulletin,(Maysville, KY), 14 Jun 1888, p. 4, col 2. Chronicling America database, Library of Congress ( : 23 Apr 2015)
  47. "Clinch, 16 July 1888, The Rogersville Herald (Rogersville, TN), 16 July 1888, p. 2.
  48. "The Jones-Greene Feud", Connersville Daily Examiner (Connersville, IN), 6 Nov 1889, p. 1, col 3. Newspaper Archive database, Newspaper Archive (http:// : 23 Apr 2015).
  49. The Chattanooga Daily Times, (Chattanooga, TN), 11 October 1889.
  50. "Murder in Hancock County," an article from the Rogersville Review,' referenced in The Comet. (Johnson City, Tenn.), 14 Nov. 1889. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. (
  51. The Meriden Daily Republican (Meriden, Connecticut) · 5 November 1889, p. 1
  52. Newspaper Archive database, Newspaper Archive (http:// : 23 Apr 2015) citing “The Jones-Greene Feud” (Connersville, IN) Connersville Daily Examiner, 6 Nov 1889, p. 1, col 3.
  53. "A Bloody Assassination," The Comet. (Johnson City, Tenn.), 3 April 1890. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. (
  54. The Evening Sentinel ,(Knoxville, Tennessee), 20 May 1890, p. 1.
  55. "Ace Jones Surrenders", Rogersville Herald, (Rogersville, Tennessee), 21 May 1890. (
  56. Nolle prosequi is a declaration used in criminal cases when the prosecutor voluntarily drops its claims, in this case probably because of the tenuous nature of the crowds gathered outside.
  57. "Nolle Prosequi Entered," The Comet (Johnson City, Tennessee), 20 July 1893. No 478, p 7. (
  58. Seal, B. Article in the Rogersville Herald. Originally transcribed from newspaper files by the late Alton Greene, Sanger, Texas. Collected and recopied from the files of William P. Grohse by Margaret Long Mabrey. 6 November 1889.
  59. "An Old Feud Reopened", The Morning News,(Savannah, Georgia), 11 December 1892 p. 2 col. 3.
  60. "Greene-Jones War", The Comet. (Johnson City, Tennessee). 15 Dec 1892. P 1 col 3. Chronicling America database, Library of Congress ( : 23 Apr 2015).
  61. AAA Source needed.
  62. “Shoots Two in Jealous rage”,The Kalispell Bee, (Kalispell, MT) 28 Nov1902, p. 1, col3. Chronicling America database, Library of Congress ( : 23 Apr 2015).
  63. "One Killed and Three Wounded". New York Daily Tribune (New York, NY) 19 September 1900 (
  64. "His Wife Had Left Him and in Shooting Her He Wounded His Child and Then Ended Himself", The Tucson Citizen, (Tuscon, Arizona), 5 Dec 1902. p 1, col 6. (
  65. Old Fulton New York Post Cards database, Thomas M. Tryniski ( : 23 Apr 2015) citing “Lincoln Greene, Last of Feudists, Dies in Hancock” (Rogersville, TN) The Rogersville Review, 8 Oct 1942, p. 1, col 1.
  66. "Lincoln Greene, Last of Feudists, Dies in Hancock," (Rogersville, TN) The Rogersville Review, 8 Oct 1942, No. 31, p. 1, col 1.
  67. Rogersville Review, (Rogersville, Tennessee). 8 October, 1942 , No.31
  68. source needed.
  69. "United States Census, 1880", database with images, FamilySearch ( : 20 February 2021), Hampton Green, Civil District 10, Hancock, Tennessee, United States; citing enumeration district ED 89, sheet 271B, NARA microfilm publication T9 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.), FHL microfilm 1,255,259.
  70. Travis, Deborah, Facebook post, ( ) "Hancock County Genealogy Chat", a social group on, commented on 16 June 2021.
  71. Meek, Brandon, Greene Jones War, A video interview on <> posted 22 Nov 2015.


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Hi! Could you "re-categorize" this page please?

Remove "Category: Tennessee Appalachians" and add

Category: Projects Related to Appalachia

Category: South Central Appalachia Team

Category: Central Appalachia Team

posted by Liz (Noland) Shifflett
I have "re-categorized" as per your request. Thank you.
posted by Bryan Lawson