Local doctor talks about his family connection to Hatfield-McCoy feud
PADUCAH — By some estimates, 40 people lost their lives back in the late 1870s when the infamous Hatfield and McCoy feud began over land and love. On one side, you had Randolph McCoy. The other side was led by William Anderson Hatfield, also known as Devil Anse.
"Large tracts of lands without boundaries always creates a problem," said Dr. Dan Hatfield. "There were always squabbles in court over those boundaries. It was bloody."
But what really made this clash boil over was a fight over a pig. The McCoys said Floyd Hatfield stole their hog.
"That was my great grandfather," Hatfield said. "Three people died because of that pig."
Things only got worse when Roseann McCoy and Johnse Hatfield entered a forbidden relationship that ended with a child and Roseann moving away.
Twenty five years of murder and mayhem ensued in an area of eastern Kentucky near Black Berry Creek.
Hatfield now lives in Paducah but grew up on Black Berry Creek. He remembers hearing little about the feud, saying people were very private.
"My grandmother, who was a child during this, even when we approached her on the 100th anniversary of the feud, she basically said she had nothing to say."
She didn't have to say much because soon Hollywood would tell the story. Outside of a few inconsistencies in time and location, Hatfield said he enjoyed the show.
"It's part of Americana," he said. "It really is something that's true America. I'm proud to be a Hatfield."
The feud is officially over.
Hatfield said he has several dear friends who are McCoys. In fact, both families now marry, go to church together and get along just fine.
Eastern Kentucky's Pike County has seen the effects of the miniseries. Their tourism bureau reports triple the visitors since the show has aired.