Hatfield McCoy Heritage Days brought together members of the public, as well as members of the famous feuding families gathered in Pikeville this past weekend to remember the history of their families and the community.
William Billy Keith Hatfield, great grandson of Devil Anse Hatfield and Ron McCoy, great great great grandson of Randolph McCoy — two of those who came to Pikeville for the event — said they have become friends and brothers in Christ.
“Those vermin, the McCoys, the horse stealing, pig-kissing McCoys started the feud,” Hatfield said. “I’m just kidding. I believe the conditions out of the Civil War, the bad things happening back and forth with the Union home guard raiding southern Virginia which later became West Virginia 1863. Hard feelings were engendered during that time due to the conditions our families were living in, but now, as you can see, we get along great.”
Hatfield said Life magazine came to see his great grandfather in 1911.
“When Life came to see my great grandfather, they said he was rich, religious and respectable, and he was,” Hatfield said. “Sadly, my grandfather helped squander that wealth.”
McCoy said Devil Anse was the Donald Trump of the day in Appalachia.
“He built and made a family fortune on his own and you have to give him credit for that,” McCoy said. “Devil Anse was self-made and that is respectable. Randolph McCoy lost everything he had, he lost his wife and eventually moved to Pikeville. His house is still standing.”
Hatfield said it’s important for people to know that his family is glad the feud story is being shared and Ron McCoy shared his sentiment.
“It doesn’t bother us that our feud story is presented as entertainment in Pigeon Forge (Tennessee) or here in Pike County or anywhere else,” said Hatfield. “The entertainment industry and tourism industry are a fantastic source for the economy. I understand the strains of poverty and it hurt when coal went away; something needs to fill that void. So, if it doesn’t bother the family, it shouldn’t bother anyone else.”
McCoy said he doesn’t understand why Kevin Costner filmed the Hatfield McCoy miniseries in Romania.
“I wouldn’t have a problem with the filming of the miniseries, but the location doesn’t give back,” said McCoy. “The film could have added so much to the economy and spread the story of the feud and the culture of the Hatfield McCoy culture and roots and would not have been a great thing.”
To view archives and learn more about the Hatfield Mccoy feud story, visit the Big Sandy Heritage Center Museum in downtown Pikeville at 172 Division Street.