Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

June 8, 2013

Hatfield and McCoy presentation in Tazewell, Big Daddy on the mend

Bluefield Daily Telegraph

— Let us not start an argument here but carefully consider at least a discussion of fighting. That is the plan for best-selling author and narrator Dean H. King, the guest of honor Monday evening, June 10, at Tazewell County’s Historic Crab Orchard Museum and Pioneer Park. King will present a discussion of the famed Hatfield-McCoy feud (the accurate version) and also have a book signing for his highly acclaimed “The Feud” which chronicles the conflict that (more or less) lasted from 1863 to1891 and captured the attention of the nation.

King, a University of North Carolina grad, has dedicated a great amount of research in West Virginia to finding the true story of the feud. He has used court records, family documents, and personal records from the families to piece together a most entertaining story, according to Historic Crab Orchard Musuem Executive Director Charlotte Whitted. King is also acclaimed for his verbal skills and the public presentation will be done on the pioneer park area’s Daniel Murray homestead beginning at 5:30 p.m. with a musical medley provided by Dale Elswick and friends. Elswick is a gifted local musician, along with his family, and can play the banjo, guitar, fiddle, and other instruments, so the entertainment will be top-notch for those who enjoy the sounds of the mountains. Should the weather be rainy, then the event will move indoors in the museum center.

Guests are encouraged to bring a pot-luck dish for the festivities and enjoy a meal on the grounds of the delightful county historical area. Whitted and her staff will provide beverages and paper products. After the music and food, King will share his thoughts with the guests concerning the Hatfield-McCoy story. A book signing will complete the organized activities as visitors will have a chance to purchase a copy of “The Feud” if they wish.

King is the narrator for The History Channel’s presentation of “America’s Greatest Feud:The Hatfields & McCoys” which has been one of the most popular programs in recent years. The author’s visit to Tazewell is timely, to say the least, because the museum currently has an exhibit which features what may be Cap Hatfield’s Colt revolver among other interesting items, according to Whitted. A section dedicated to feuding is now on display at the museum so this visit should be a perfect match of art related to life (and death) at least in the Hatfield-McCoy history.

King has written for many publications, including national magazines and newspapers, in addition to his book work which includes the best selling “Skeletons on the Zahara.” Whitted adds that another reason she is happy to have the author-speaker in town is a personal connection. Some 28 years ago, they were both freshmen at UNC and have remained friends.

Make your plans now to enjoy a peaceful and delightful Monday evening at the park located on Route 19-460 at Pisgah just below the town of Tazewell. For more information you can call 276-988-6755.


Local folks who enjoy good eating often stop by “Big Daddy” Lambert’s place out at Adria. Big Daddy himself has been going through some tough times lately with a regimen of dialysis but is battling bravely and hoping to make a good recovery. “Punkie” as he used to be known before Big Daddy became so well known, still works several days a week and enjoys visiting with his patrons and friends.

He and his staff provide what can still be found here in the mountains — a local business owned and operated by local people who provide a quality product right here at home. It is a tradition in Four Seasons country over the past two or three centuries that neighbors must welcome each other and offer some food to the guests. That tradition is alive and well at a variety of local eateries from Raleigh County to Giles down to Buchanan and lots of places in between. We are fortunate to have so many friends with good local food available.

Best wishes to “Big Daddy” Lambert for a speedy recovery as he continues to work while getting better.

Larry Hypes, a teacher at Tazewell High School, is a Daily Telegraph columnist.