Hatfield & McCoy Feud Descendants Tell Their Story

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.

Devil Anse Hatfield Cemetery
Ron McCoy facing Devil Anse Hatfield’s grave (candid 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 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.

Preservation Kentucky Tour120 – Pikeville/Pike County Historic Tours

Just a reminder for you history buffs, Preservation Kentucky Tour120 is coming this weekend, Saturday May 18th and Sunday May 19th, to Pikeville-Pike County, Kentucky!

The following is available this weekend:

Saturday 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. – Historic tour of the Big Sandy Heritage Museum, Pike County Historic Courthouse and Pikeville City with Reed Potter. Meet at the Doughboy beside the Pike County Historic Courthouse, 146 Main Street, Pikeville KY.  $10.00 per person (donation for Big Sandy Heritage Center). Reed Potter contact: reed_potter@hotmail.com

Saturday 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. – Tour of the Hatfield McCoy Hog Trial Site with Patti Whitt (Blackberry, KY). Patti Whitt contact: pattiwhitt@icloud.com

Saturday 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. – The McCoy Well Site will be available, featuring the Randolph McCoy statue. (Hardy, KY).

Saturday 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. – Matewan Heritage Days will be going on in Matewan, WV. Featuring reenactments. Kim McCoy contact: (606) 371-0938

Sunday 1 p.m. until 4 p.m. – The Big Sandy Heritage Museum will be open for special hours, featuring Hatfield & McCoy artifacts.

 

For full details on Tour120, visit the Preservation Kentucky website here.

 

Gallery

Hatfield Handgun Surfaces, but is it Legit?

On April 12, 2019, Leslie Rivers paid a visit to the Big Sandy Heritage Center with a very special item from Hatfield-McCoy feud lore, a Deringer-styled handgun that may or may not have been, at one point, owned by “Devil” Anse Hatfield, and his son “Cap” Hatfield. William Keith Hatfield, great-grandson of Devil Anse was also invited to this special event to attempt to authenticate the weapon. Big Sandy Heritage Center curator Everett Johnson and local historian/museum board member Reed Potter was also present, as well as a host of media, to determine if the gun is in fact Hatfield related.

In the video above, provided by PikeTV, William and Leslie give us some history behind the gun and the process of authenticating historical items. Did Devil Anse pass this gun onto Cap, who then gifted it to a close family friend, Dr. Dana Moore? Check out the video above and decide for yourself.

Hatfields and McCoys Feud Tour

Thousands of people from all around the world have visited Pike County, Kentucky to immerse themselves into some of America’s richest historical locales. Pike County is home to most of the significant Hatfield and McCoy feud sites, and as a result of the recent spike in the feud’s popularity, Pikeville/Pike County offers a self-guided tour of these interesting historic locales.

The Hatfield and McCoy Driving Tour is a self-guided tour that includes all historic sites, both in Kentucky and West Virginia, of the feud. Visitors are provided a Hatfield and McCoy Driving Tour brochure for free, which features step-by-step instructions for finding each feud site that is open to the public. An optional Hatfield and McCoy Driving Tour CD is available for purchase below. Both items can be found in our visitors’ center store, located in the Hampton Inn on 831 Hambley Blvd, Pikeville. The audio CD serves as a tour guide for the feud sites, and offers professional voice talent and music, which spices up the already wonderful tour.

Breakfast with the Devil

September 30, 2017, join in eating Breakfast with the Devil; Devil Anse that is.

This all day, breakfast event will be located in the heart of downtown Williamson, West Virginia 10a.m. to 4p.m.

Breakfast with the Devil will be the last stop of the three-day Devil’s Den Bike Fest.

Local restaurants along with food vendors will offer unique breakfast items all day.

This is a family friendly event including live music and shopping vendors