Hatfield McCoy Country Museum.

Hatfield McCoy Country Museum

Field review by the editors.

Williamson, West Virginia

"It's a lot more complicated than people think," said Bill Richardson, curator of the Hatfield McCoy Country Museum, about the feud between the Hatfields and McCoys. Richardson, also an extension professor at West Virginia University, has been researching and promoting the warring families since the 1990s, and opened the museum on May 26, 2017.

Hatfield McCoy Country Museum.

According to Bill, the museum has "the largest collection in the world of actual items and artifacts that relate to the feud," including a gun found at one of the battle sites, bullets fired at another, and a large piece of Randolph McCoy's cabin, burned by the Hatfields, who wanted to burn Randolph as well (They failed).

So why did the families try to kill each other? Various theories trace the fight to land, timber, or the Civil War, but Bill believes it was rooted in the ownership of a pig: the Hatfields had it, the McCoys claimed it was theirs, a local judge (a Hatfield) ruled in the Hatfields' favor, and the war was on.

The Hatfield McCoy Country Museum also has what Bill says is one of the nation's largest collections of coal mining artifacts, and covers other Appalachian history as well, but wisely stamps itself with the Hatfield-McCoy brand. "You go a hundred miles from here and nobody's heard of Williamson," said Bill. "But everybody's heard of the Hatfields and McCoys."

Also see: Hatfield-McCoy Feudin' Trail

Hatfield McCoy Country Museum

Address:
801 Alderson St., Williamson, WV
Directions:
From US Hwy 52/W. 4th Ave. turn north at the Fire Station and First National Bank onto Logan St. Drive up the hill, bending to the left. The museum is near the top of the hill, in the old Williamson High School.
Hours:
Tu-Sa 9-5 (Call to verify)
Phone:
304-601-3066
Admission:
Adults $5.
Save to My Sights

Nearby Offbeat Places

House Made of CoalHouse Made of Coal, Williamson, WV - < 1 mi.
Hatfield-McCoy Love Baby GraveHatfield-McCoy Love Baby Grave, Burnwell, KY - 4 mi.
Forbidden McCoy CemeteryForbidden McCoy Cemetery, Hardy, KY - 6 mi.
In the region:
Hatfield-McCoy Feud Cemetery, Pikeville, KY - 19 mi.

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October 16, 2017

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