Site of Hatfield-McCoy Feud Draws Tourists

ByABC News
March 30, 2004, 12:14 PM

March 31 -- A wooded hillside overlooking the Tug Valleyhas gone from being a gruesome murder scene to a tourist attractionthat draws people from around the world.

It was here that three young brothers were gunned down by agroup of men set on revenge for the stabbing death of one of theirown kin.

This tiny spot in the Appalachians would have been forgottenlong ago had the combatants not been named Hatfield and McCoy. Butbecause these are the nation's most notorious feuding families, thescattered places where they fought and died are being preserved inthe interest of history and commerce.

Congress has appropriated nearly $500,000 to build walkways toaccommodate foot traffic and make some of the bloodiest feud sitesmore tourist-friendly. Local leaders are hoping for a sizablereturn in tourism dollars for a struggling mountain economy.

Kevin Gilliam, a Pikeville architect working to restore some ofthe feuding grounds, said he has been amazed by the level ofinterest in the feud from outside Kentucky, even outside the UnitedStates.

"People already come from all over to visit these places," hesaid. "From Canada, from Japan. It's unreal the people who areshowing up."

Fight over a Pig

The feud between the McCoys of Kentucky and the Hatfields ofWest Virginia believed to have stemmed from a dispute over a pig brought national attention to the region. A court battle overtimber rights escalated the tension in the early 1870s. By 1888, atleast 12 lives were lost as a result of the feud that receivedwidespread publicity in national newspapers and magazines at thetime.

Already, the Dils Cemetery in Pikeville where patriarchRandolph McCoy, his wife, Sara, and daughter Roseanna are buried has been landscaped and stairs have been added to allow easy accessfor visitors.