Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Entertainment

January 2, 2013

Artifacts help pinpoint key Hatfield-McCoy battle

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — The Hatfield clan New Year's attack on Randolph McCoy's cabin marked a turning point in America's most famous feud — the homestead was set ablaze, and two McCoys were gunned down. Hatfield family members and supporters were soon thrown in jail.

Artifacts recently unearthed appear to pinpoint the location of the 1888 ambush in the woods of Pike County in eastern Kentucky. Excavators found bullets believed to have been fired by the McCoys in self-defense, along with fragments of windows and ceramic from the family's cabin.

"This is one of the most famous conflicts in American history, and we've got bullets fired from one of the key battles. It doesn't get any better than that," said Bill Richardson, a West Virginia University extension professor who was part of the recent discovery.

The property is owned by Bob Scott, a Hatfield descendant who has suspected for years that the hilly land was the site of the brutal attack. He grew up listening to stories from his parents and grandparents about the 19th-century feud.

"My father told me years ago that someday this well would talk," Scott said, referring to the well on the site where Randolph McCoy's daughter Alafair died while trying to flee the attackers.

Now backed by the discovery, Scott plans to capitalize on the historic 70-acre site near the West Virginia line. The options include a housing development featuring horseback and ATV trails, he said.

Scott's home is about 75 yards from where the cabin stood. The McCoys moved to nearby Pikeville after the homestead was burned.

The artifacts were found last year during filming of a National Geographic Channel show.

The bullets were discovered burrowed several inches into a hillside overlooking where the McCoy cabin stood, Richardson said. Three different calibers of bullets, including shotgun pellets, were uncovered.

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