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Hatfield McCoy Country Museum.

Hatfield McCoy Country Museum

Field review by the editors.

Liberty, Kentucky

"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

14 Hustonville St., Liberty, KY
Downtown. On the east side of Hustonville St., just north of its intersection with Middleburg St. and the courthouse square.
Sa 10-6 (Call to verify) Local health policies may affect hours and access.
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