Hatfield McCoy feud artifacts to be on display today in Williamson
WILLIAMSON, W.Va. -- The only archeological artifacts from the Hatfield McCoy Feud will be placed on public display for the first time on Monday, Jan. 28, at the Coal House in Williamson, W.Va.
These items have been buried underground for 125 years and can be seen by the public for the first time at 10:30 a.m. Monday, Jan. 28. There will be a ceremony to unveil the items at the Coal House and the public is invited to attend.
These recently discovered items include bullets fired when the Hatfields attacked the McCoy cabin on New Year's Day 1888, pieces of the McCoy cabin which was burned down during the attack, and fragments of household items used by the McCoys.
The raid on Jan. 1,1888 was a turning point in the Hatfield McCoy Feud. The conflict had ensued for 23 years, but 20 days after the now infamous raid, the Hatfields were in jail. The fact that the items are from such a key event makes them even more significant.
WVU Extension Professor Bill Richardson participated in the discovery.
"These are world class artifacts that can only be seen here," he said. "We can't wait to share them with the world."
The items were found at Hardy, Ky. on the property of local businessman, Bob Scott, during filming of a NatGeo TV show called "Diggers," a new show about two men who search for historic artifacts using metal detectors. The episode of the show featuring the discovery will air at 10 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 29 on the National Geographic Channel.
As a follow up to the show the University of Kentucky sent Kim McBride to do further excavation on the site. McBride, co-director of the Kentucky Archaeological Survey, confirmed the find and also uncovered window glass, several pieces of ceramic and other items from the McCoy home.
"We are thrilled to have these items," Richardson said. "No one has discovered bullets that were fired by Jesse James or from the OK Corral. It is so rare to find something so significant from such an iconic event in American history."
There were three different calibers of bullets uncovered including shotgun pellets. The bullets were 4-6 inches underground and spread out over an area of about 30 feet wide by 20 feet high.
This is the first scientific research that has been done on the Feud. To date most of what is known came from oral histories, wildly exaggerated newspaper accounts and a few trial transcripts. Many of the facts of the story have been debated for 125 years. Now for the first time there is hard evidence that can be used to understand these events.
Tug Valley Chamber of Commerce Executive Director, Natalie Young, is excited to have these artifacts in the Coal House. She wishes to extend an invitation to both locals and tourists to come inside the Coal House and view this actual piece of history.
"We can't thank Bob Scott enough for allowing us to showcase these finds and promote tourism to the Tug Valley," she said.