One of the most nationally known events to come out of southern West Virginia happened well over 100 years ago. But it is making “History” again this week. The History Channel is airing a miniseries chronicling the famous Hatfield and McCoy feud. The altercations between these two families began around 1865 and continued well up into the 1890′s.
Today there are many great ways to experience the Hatfields and McCoys in southern West Virginia. Here are a few ways that you can step into the past and be part of the famous feud.
The Hatfield and McCoy saga has been presented as a Theatre WV Outdoor Drama at the Grandview Amphitheatre since 1970. It is one of two annual dramas at the theatre, and can be seen almost every other day throughout out the months of June and July.
This performance chronicles the battles between the two families and sets it to music. The feud’s bad blood is brought to the stage and played out under the southern WV night skies. It is a great way for locals and visitors alike to gain a better appreciation for the history of this fight.
Hatfield and McCoy Trails
The Hatfield and McCoy trail system is an ever-growing assemblage of off-road trails designed for ATV’s, UTV’s and dirt bikes. It encompasses many of the areas in southern West Virginia where the Hatfield and McCoy feuding actually took place. At present, the trail system is well over 500 miles in length and traverses through 5 of the 9 counties in its projected development area. As more trails are created, it will eventually cover close to 2,000 miles and include areas for 4×4′s, horses, and non-motorized users.
Not only are some of the trails located very close to the Hatfield Cemetery, where numerous battles of this feud took place, but they also border other southern WV historical sites such as Blair Mountain and Matewan. This is some of the most beautiful and rugged terrain in all of the state and the trails pass through a region ripe with coal heritage and history. Riding through these areas will give you an appreciation of how hard life must have been for the Hatfields and McCoys who called it home so many years ago.
Exploring Hatfield Country in Southern WV
From most parts of southern West Virginia, it’s a short but interesting (narrow, curvy roads) drive to put yourself in Hatfield country. Between Man, WV and Williamson, WV you can find Hatfield grave sites, feud sites and many more places dealing with the history of the fight.
There is also an annual reunion that commemorates the battle between these two families. The Hatfield and McCoy Reunion Festival takes place the second weekend of June. Folks visit from all over the US. This family-friendly celebration of the famous feud includes music, plays, tours of feud sites, a golf tournament, an ATV poker run, a marathon and tug of war across the Tug River by descendants of the families.
What else do you know about the Hatfield McCoy feud in southern West Virginia? Share with us in the comments.