Hatfield grave.
Spare change from many devoted Hatfield visitors.

Burial Ground of the Hatfields

Field review by the editors.

Sarah Ann, West Virginia

A visit to Hatfield Cemetery is one you'll remember long after your visits to more conventional cemeteries are long forgotten. No one visits the Hatfield Cemetery on a whim. First, you have to drive all the way to Sarah Ann, West Virginia (and no one does that except to visit the Hatfield Cemetery), and second, you have to climb the steep, rutted, rocky path to the graveyard, a muddy slog in all but the driest weather.

A bridge leading to the cemetery has been roped off to stop people from trying to drive up the axle-busting hill. By the time you reach the graves on foot, you need a few minutes just to catch your breath.

Statue of
Statue of "Devil Anse" Hatfield is the must-see grave in Hatfield Cemetery.

The cemetery's focal point is its life-size Italian marble statue of "Devil Anse" Hatfield, leader of the Hatfield clan and sworn enemy of the McCoy family and their patriarch, Randolph McCoy. To find an Italian marble statue of anyone in this rural corner of West Virginia is remarkable, and Devil Anse cuts a particularly memorable figure with his boots and gaiters, luxurious beard, pants hiked high over his big belly, and wayward tie clip and dinner jacket.

The Hatfield children spent $5,000 on the statue, which arrived five years after their father was buried in 1921 -- in a $2,000 solid steel coffin. The Hatfields may have been hillbillies, but they were hillbillies with cash.

Other members of the Hatfield clan have been, and continue to be, buried in the cemetery (Some of the tombstones are only a few years old). Among the other notable interments are Devil Anse's son Johnse, "Romeo of the Hills," who impregnated Roseanna McCoy and then dumped her for her 16-year-old cousin; and sons Troy and Elias, who were simultaneously shot dead in an argument over liquor distribution.

Devil Anse seems to have gotten the best of his bitter rival: he lived longer, died easier (and wealthier), and of course he has a memorable graveyard statue. When we visited Randolph McCoy's much more cosmopolitain grave in Kentucky, his tombstone had only a couple of coins tossed onto it, but Devil Anse's grave in remote Sarah Ann was covered with spare change.

We'd say the Hatfields won.

Also see: Hatfield-McCoy Feudin' Trail

Burial Ground of the Hatfields

Address:
Hwy 44, Sarah Ann, WV
Directions:
Twelve miles south of Logan on Hwy 44 (or five miles north of US Hwy 52). Hatfield Cemetery is a little bit south of the hamlet of Sarah Ann, on the west side. There's an official historical marker on the road, with a very small pul-off area to park. Devil Anse's grave is a walk up the steep hill. Be prepared to get muddy.
Admission:
Free
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
Save to My Sights

Nearby Offbeat Places

Corner of Hatfield and McCoy StreetsCorner of Hatfield and McCoy Streets, Matewan, WV - 11 mi.
Matewan Flood WallMatewan Flood Wall, Matewan, WV - 11 mi.
PawPaw Murder Bush MarkerPawPaw Murder Bush Marker, McCarr, KY - 11 mi.
In the region:
Forbidden McCoy Cemetery, Hardy, KY - 14 mi.

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November 20, 2017

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