Days of Anger, Days of Tears
The History of the Rowan County War

by Fred Brown & Juanita Blair

Days of Anger, Days of Tears is available from your favorite local bookstore, from Amazon, or directly from Wind.
Wind Publications
600 Overbrook Dr
Nicholasville, KY 40356


This volume chronicles the bloody history of two interlocking eastern Kentucky conflicts: The Underwood War, Carter and Lewis Counties, 1877-1879, and the Tolliver-Martin Feud, Rowan County, 1884-1887. The authors’ roots run deep in this story, their kinsmen having fought in both conflicts and on both sides.

The Appalachian region of Kentucky has never been known for the peaceful temperament of its inhabitants. After the War Between the States the simmering emotions of the region exploded in a series of clannish “wars” that clouded the state’s good name for decades. Radical Republicans and Copperhead Democrats, their descendents and their neighbors, went to battle over everything from hogs and horses to women and murder.

In the 1880's in Rowan County, Kentucky, post-Civil War tensions joined with whiskey, politics, and guns to spark what has been described as perhaps our nation's bloodiest feud. Known as the Rowan County War, the Martin-Tolliver feud brought national attention to Morehead and Rowan County. In unsuccessful attempts to stop the feud the governor sent the state militia to Morehead to restore order on three occasions, and the state General Assembly threatened the abolition of Rowan County unless the feuding ceased. The feud lasted three years, during which more than half of Morehead's population fled the county, before ending in a fierce gun battle in downtown Morehead on June 22, 1887. By the time hostilities ended more than twenty persons, including some of the county's most prominent citizens, had fallen victim to the murderous violence.

This volume is extensively documented with more than 500 notes and references.