Ralph B. Davisrdavis@civitasmedia.com
January 28, 2013
WILLIAMSON — Artifacts from the world famous Hatfield and McCoy Feud were presented to the Tug Valley Chamber of Commerce in a special ceremony Monday morning in front of the historic Coal House on Second Avenue in downtown Williamson.
The relics were discovered after an archaeological dig held on the property of Bob and Rita Scott at Hardy, Ky.
Bill Richardson, a local WVU professor and extension agent, said these historic objects are amazing and will help increase tourism in the Tug Valley area. They are now on display at the Coal House.
Included in the artifacts is an actual piece of the Ran’l McCoy cabin that was burned to the ground by the Hatfield clan in a New Year’s Day raid in 1888. This was one of the dramatic scenes depicted in the History Channel’s mini-series on the feud.
Others items are the a ceramic piece of a wash basin, a piece of metal from a stove and several bullets that were fired during the raid.
The Scott’s arrived in front of the Coal House escorted by Sgt. John Dotson of the West Virginia State Police. They then entered the front of the chamber on a red carpet and presented the artifacts to Richardson and Chamber director Natalie Young.
The National Geographic television show “Diggers” will air the episode Tuesday night at 10 p.m. about their historic findings.
The raid on the McCoy residence in 1888 was a major turning point in the Hatfield and McCoy Feud, according to Richardson. “The fact that the items are from such a key event with the feud makes them even more significant.”
Richardson said there are no bullets from the gunfight at the OK Corral or none from famous outlaw Jessie James. But now the local Chamber of Commerce has actual artifacts from the most famous feud in history that happened right here in the Tug Valley.
University of Kentucky archaeologist Kim McBride did further excavation at the site after the National Geographic show did the first dig. Also uncovered from the site were window glass from the cabin and several pieces of ceramic from the McCoy cabin.
There were three different calibers of ammunitions found, according to Richardson. Those included shotgun pellets, and what is believed to be 38 and 44 caliber bullets. The artifacts are now on display in a protected glass case at the Coal House.
Richardson said tourism has increased in the last year and he expects to see an upsurge in the tourist traffic in the coming months here in the Tug Valley area.
Williamson Mayor Darrin McCormick welcomed those in attendance, along with House of Delegate member Justin Marcum and Michael Browning, who was representing U.S. Senator Joe Manchin.
Former chamber director Cecil Hatfield, county commissioner David Baisden and several current members of the TVCC were also in attendance.
If you are interested in viewing the artifacts, you may contact the Coal House at 304-235-5240 during business hours. You may also email Ridhardson at firstname.lastname@example.org.