Hatfield-McCoy Pikeville-Pike County Museum.
Hatfield-McCoy feud relics on display.

Big Sandy Heritage Museum: Hatfield-McCoy

Field review by the editors.

Pikeville, Kentucky

The Big Sandy Heritage Museum serves two audiences: fans of the Hatfield-McCoy feud and fans of Pikeville and Pike County.

Hatfield-McCoy fans are the majority, which sometimes vexes museum director Polly Hopkins. "It bothers me a little bit that people are only interested in Hatfield-McCoy; they skip everything else." Polly showed us county-related exhibits on Daniel Boone, President Garfield, and the "8th Wonder of the World" Pikeville Cut-Thru, a marvel of man-conquers-earth engineering. All of them were interesting -- but where were those Hatfield-McCoy artifacts again? Polly understands; she's heard it before.

Hatfield-McCoy Pikeville-Pike County Museum.
Hillbilly chic: clan leader "Devil Anse" Hatfield.

Hatfield-McCoy highlights at the museum include life-size wax dummies of the two clan leaders, "Devil Anse" Hatfield and Randolph McCoy, custom-made in Philadelphia according to Polly. Framed paintings of the two men by the late Bert Diamond, a Pikeville resident, are another museum display that you won't see anywhere else, as is a local newspaper cartoon from 1992, depicting the two clans as hillbillies wallowing with pigs.

Two showcases are devoted to the famous feud, exhibiting items dug up from the McCoy Homeplace after it was destroyed in a Hatfield attack, as well as the warrant subsequently issued to track down the Hatfields and arrest them (One of them was later hanged in town). The oddest item has to be the "Everlasting Friendship" certificate, signed and sealed in 1924 by the governors of both Kentucky and West Virginia, officially ending the feud with the opening of a highway between the two states.

More roads have been built since then, and today the West Virginia-Kentucky state line is easily crossed by those seeking to bond with the Hatfields and McCoys. The Pikeville Museum staff is grateful for the attention that it brings, but it can still be a little frustrating. "I'll meet someone and say I'm from Pikeville and they'll go, 'Oh my god, are are you a Hatfield or a McCoy?'" said intern Whitney McKinney. "I get that all the time."

Also see: Hatfield-McCoy Feudin' Trail

Big Sandy Heritage Museum: Hatfield-McCoy

Big Sandy Mountain Heritage History Center Museum

Address:
172 Division St., Pikeville, KY
Directions:
Downtown. From US Hwy 23 BUS turn south onto Division St. Drive to the parking lot at the end, on the left. On the right you'll see a multi-story, blocky, tannish building. The museum is on its 4th floor.
Hours:
Tu-Sa 10-4 (Call to verify)
Phone:
606-213-4397
Admission:
Adults $5, Under 15 $3
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
Save to My Sights

Nearby Offbeat Places

Hatfield-McCoy Feud CemeteryHatfield-McCoy Feud Cemetery, Pikeville, KY - < 1 mi.
Octavia Hatcher: Buried Alive?Octavia Hatcher: Buried Alive?, Pikeville, KY - < 1 mi.
Feudists On Trial (Hanging Site)Feudists On Trial (Hanging Site), Pikeville, KY - < 1 mi.
In the region:
Big Fries, Hot Dog, Shake, Kingsport, TN - 64 mi.

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December 16, 2019

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