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Hatfield-McCoy historical feud in the spotlight

You've probably heard of the Hatfields and McCoys, and their family feud over a stolen pig.

Much of the history behind it all is right here in eastern Kentucky.

History is marked throughout Pike County where events during a family feud occurred that many cannot forget, especially those still living in the area with the last name Hatfield or McCoy.

"This feud lasted for many years and many decades and the longer it lasted, the community divided in their loyalities," said Reed Potter, the vice chair at Pike County Tourism, Convention, and Visitors Bureau.

It is hard to believe the famous feud started over a stolen pig killing many including children, prosecuting several, and even hanging one.

"You would mark the hog with a mark in their ear. A number of notches or some kind of symbol by cutting into their ear that way you knew whose hog was whose. When Randolph gathered his hogs, there was one missing," said Potter.

History shows the feud over the Kentucky/West Virginia state line was a continuation of the Civil War that did not end until 1901.

"These are more than just feuding people that are outlaws or people that want justice. There's more complexity to the characters," said Jay Shepherd, the marketing director at Pike County Tourism, Convention, and Visitors Bureau.

The history is everywhere you look in Pike County from the Hatfields and McCoys who still live there to those McCoys who were involved in feud and buried in a local cemetery.

Tourism officials hope the spiked interest in this feud is something everyone can learn from so history does not repeat itself.

Historians say Randolph McCoy was broken and bitter with the outcome considering the leader of the Hatfield family was never brought to justice.


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