PIKE COUNTY, Ky. (WYMT) – The history of the famous feuding families can be taught and learned by a walking or driving tour around the county.
Perhaps the greatest draw for Pike County, Kentucky is the legendary sites of the Hatfield McCoy Feud. These sites, which include the Hog Trail Cabin (known as the “Preacher Anse” Cabin), the McCoy Homeplace and Well, the Hatfield Cemeteries, Dils Cemetery (resting place of the McCoys), and an assortment of other sites all carry with them not only incredible history, but also great responsibility.
Recently, Pike County Tourism CVB, along with volunteers, prepared these sites for Memorial Day weekend. This was no small task, which involved not only financial investment, but also labor; weed eating, mowing, cleaning, raking, pressure washing staircases, and placing wreathes. Given the financial hardship bought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, such an investment has taken its toll on our budget, and although we remain optimistic for our local tourism industry’s recovery, we are looking for ways to keep these precious sites beautiful going forward.
This would be a perfect time for you to get involved, especially if you are a descendant of the Hatfields and/or McCoys. Pike County Tourism has always cherished our relationship with the Hatfields and McCoys, some of which have dedicated time and money to boosting tourism in our region, and keeping the feud story alive for many to experience and learn from.
How Can You Help?
In Pike County Tourism CVB’s over 27 years of service to these sites, we have never asked for help. However, given the circumstances, we are in need of help to maintain these wonderful sites.
There are three ways in which you can get involved:
Make an online donation: Click below to make a secure donation online with PayPal. A PayPal account is not required. This donation will be used to offset spending for Hatfield McCoy Feud Sites’ upkeep.
Volunteer your time: Not all donations need be monetary. Contact us by phone (606) 432-5063, or by email if you would like to arrange a time to volunteer at one of our historic sites. We would love to work with you.
Mail in a donation: Feel free to mail a check of any amount, made out to Pike County Tourism CVB, P.O. Box 1497, Pikeville, KY, 41501.
The 2020 Hatfield McCoy Historic Sites Cleanup
Thank you to all of our supporters for volunteering time and resources to this project.
Giving Back, a Message From McCoy Descendant Ron McCoy
“Cleaning our cemeteries is more than a responsibility or obligation. It is a privilege and an opportunity to honor our heritage in a tangible way. For me, working in our cemeteries has always been a moving and personal experience. I don’t know if I’ve ever felt closer to my ancestors than when I’ve had a rake or shovel in my hand” said Ron McCoy, direct descendant of Randolph McCoy.
Each year, McCoy, along with many other descendants of both the Hatfields and the McCoys, visit Pike County, Kentucky, not only to reconnect with these historic sites, but to restore them. Without their volunteered time, upkeep of these sites would otherwise be impossible.
“Pike County’s historic cemeteries are more than just family memorials. They are cultural heritage sites,” said McCoy. “When we work together to maintain our cemeteries, we are preserving our mutual heritage as well as honoring the lives of those who came before us.”
Volunteer opportunities are available throughout the year, and are not limited to Hatfield and/or McCoy descendants, buy anyone who has a love for the history.
“Volunteer participation and support is vital in maintaining and conserving our cemeteries. Most cemeteries in Pike County are privately held and therefore are not supported by public funds. They are maintained through the efforts of hard-working volunteers who offer their time, labor and money to ensure that our cemeteries are preserved for future generations. “
After a long day of clearing brush and cleaning gravestones, Ron McCoy takes a moment to stand before the towering statue of Anderson “Devil Anse” Hatfield, which sits atop the famous feudist’s resting place. This interesting and deeply moving moment was captured without, at the time, Ron’s knowledge. What ran through Ron’s head as he stood there is anyone’s guess, however, such a compelling moment had an undeniable impact on me, so I snapped the photo.
Ron, along with descendant Bob Scott (Hatfield), had been spending the week in their ancestral home of Pikeville-Pike County, Kentucky assisting Pike County Tourism CVB staff and volunteers in cleaning and preparing the gravesites of the feudists for tourist season. Thousands of feud descendants, as well as history buffs from all over the world visit Pikeville-Pike County each year to tour the sites of the world’s most famous feud, and to these descendants, the gravesites’ condition are of utmost importance. To see the descendants of these famous feudists cleaning the gravestones of their family’s ancestral enemy is a powerful image of forgiveness, and truly shows the humble heart these people have developed despite a legacy of hatred and bloodshed.
Ron, along with descendant Bob Scott (Hatfield), had been spending the week in their ancestral home of Pikeville-Pike County, Kentucky assisting Pike County Tourism CVB staff in cleaning and preparing the gravesites of the feudists for tourist season. Thousands of feud descendants, as well as history buffs from all over the world visit Pikeville-Pike County each year to tour the sites of the world’s most famous feud, and to these descendants, the gravesites’ condition is of utmost importance.
As marketing director of Pike County Tourism CVB, I have, for years, sought to not only promote the Pike County Hatfield & McCoy Feud Sites as a historic destination, but also to tell the story of the feud from interesting and unique points of view. I find the perspective of the direct descendants to be particularly interesting, as their relationship with the history is so intriguing. Given that there are great many Hatfield and McCoy descendants around today, with a great variety of perspectives on feud history, we tend to reach out to the descendants that were involved in signing the Peace Treaty when creating our content, namely Ron McCoy, Bo McCoy and Reo Hatfield. William Keith Hatfield and Jack Hatfield, who are William Anderson “Devil Anse” Hatfield’s descendants, are also two resources that we commonly reach out to, as they have worked over the years to create and enhance our Hatfield McCoy events, namely Hatfield McCoy Heritage Days which takes place each year in September in Pikeville/Pike County, Kentucky.
The Hatfield – McCoy Feud: From Retribution to Reconciliation
Recently, we called upon some of these descendants to assist us in creating a video detailing their story as it relates to the Hatfield and McCoy Feud; to tell the story of how the two families went from retribution to reconciliation. The following video was filmed in the Preacher Anse Hatfield Hog Trial Cabin, and features descendants Ron McCoy, Reo Hatfield and William Keith Hatfield.