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.
Come experience the Hatfield McCoy Heritage Days Homecoming with us this fall from September 20th through the 22nd, 2019. Hatfield McCoy Heritage Days Homecoming is a celebration of the peace made between the Hatfields and McCoys, and serves as an event memorializing the events of the feud, as well as the steps the families took to officially bring the feud to an end. This event is open to the public, with visitors encouraged to discuss with the descendants of these famous feuding families anything they wish to learn about Hatfield & McCoy feud lore.
Below is an early schedule of events. This schedule is likely to change, yet much of it may stay the same:
8 a.m. – “The Cuss” Race .
9 a.m. — 2 p.m. – Pikeville Farmer’s Market For craft vendor space and non-political information booths only, call Bridget Michelle Tackett at (606) 794-3033. Music will begin at 9:30 a.m., and will last until 2 p.m., featuring local talent.
Noon – Pig Roast with the Hatfields and McCoys (Pikeville Farmer’s Market).
3 p.m. – Blood Song Play Historic Pike County Courthouse on Main Street, admission $10 cash at the door. Featuring Hatfield-McCoy descendants telling their story.
6 p.m. – Dinner with Descendants, Dueling Barrels Brewery & Distillery ($20/person).
2 p.m. & 7:30 p.m. – Sally McCoy Play at the App A Feud story from Sally McCoy’s perspective.
10 a.m. – Hatfield & McCoy Feud Memorial Service: McCoy Homeplace and Well Site at Hardy for church service – 10 a.m. Church service conducted by William Hatfield, Ron McCoy, and Reo Hatfield.
Event details subject to change.
Ruff, Tuff Race Series
The Ruff Tuff Race Series Registration is now OPEN!! 3 days, 3 different events, 3 medals, 2 finisher’s shirt (1 for completing The CUSS & 1 for completing all 3 events), a ton of fun, laughs, great/priceless photos and experiences. Come join your friends and family in this Annual event.
The Whole Series will be $75
September 20th @ 7pm THE BULLET ($25)
September 21st @ 8am THE CUSS ($40)
September 22nd @ 7am THE (Son of a) GUN Half Marathon ($40)
All monies raised are put back into the event so the more people registering the BIGGER this can be!
Many more events will be added as the date approaches.
Secure Your Lodging Today
Distilled by Pike County’s Pauley Hollow Distillery, Fuel of the Feud moonshine is made from water drawn from the McCoy well, which is located on the property where, on New Years Eve, 1888, the Hatfields attacked the McCoy homeplace, burning it to the ground. This product will become available in July, 2019, and is one of many projects planned that involves the McCoy Well property.
McCoy Well owner, and Hatfield descendant Bob Scott, along with his wife Rita, worked tirelessly over the course of the past few years, to make this product a reality.
“This product not only tastes great, but it also gives locals and visitors an opportunity to own an artifact from Hatfield McCoy Feud Country,” said Scott, who is also a Pike County Tourism CVB board member. “This is more than a drink, this is a keepsake for those who love the history, and it is something that further enhances Pike County’s tourism offerings.”
“Products are more meaningful to our visitors when they have a story attached to them,” said Jay Shepherd, Pike County Tourism CVB Marketing Director. “This is a product with a story. A Hatfield designed it using water from Randolph McCoy’s well, and a Pike County distillery distilled it.”
“Moonshine has long been part of the heritage of Appalachia and the Hatfields and McCoys,” said Ron McCoy, direct descendant of Randolph McCoy. “Like so many aspects of feud history, moonshine has its negative connotations. However, using the water from the McCoy well is a truly unique way to produce an authentic product distilled by a local business, one that promotes the unity between the families and is respectful of our mutual heritage.”
“Keeping with the tradition of the feud, Fuel of the Feud is made from a mashbill of West Virginia corn and Kentucky rye along with malted barley and cane sugar,” said Josh Martin, owner of Pauley Hollow Distillery. “It is distilled in a copper pot still in small batches. This 100 proof moonshine has an initial sweet corn flavor with a spicy rye finish.”
Pauley Hollow Distillery’s Fuel of the Feud will be available this July, and can be purchased in Liquor stores across Kentucky.
For more details on Fuel of the Feud, visit www.FueloftheFeud.com.
Fuel of the Feud Gallery
Hatfield McCoy Feud Driving 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.