FEATURE STORIES

HATFIELDS AND MCCOYS NOW LIVE

AS MODELS FOR PEACE AND HARMONY

In American culture, the feuding Hatfields and McCoys became a symbol for hostility, bickering and unforgiveness.
The Hatfield and McCoy Feud was a bloody and highly publicized grudging vendetta, in the late 1800’s in the remote region of Pike County, Kentucky, and across the Tug River into Mingo County, West Virginia.
The feuding families have become a part of American folklore and legend.  Their story was sensationalized in early newspapers and magazines, and books, and later in television programs, books and the stage.  The shooting 
ended (by some accounts) in 1891, yet the families are forever tied to the theme of unforgiveness and ongoing animosity.
Things improved radically in 2003, feuding Hatfield and McCoy descendants Reo Hatfield, Ron McCoy and Bo McCoy came together in Pikeville, Kentucky to sign a peace treaty, publicly forgiving each other for the violence injustices, and hatred from the past.
In 2008, the John Templeton Foundation has recognized the peace treaty signing as being among the greatest acts of forgiveness in history, alongside other events such as a Civil War union officer saluting confederate soldiers, a liberated holocaust survivor shaking the hand of a concentration camp guard, and a civil rights activist forgiving a former arch-segregationist governor. Not to mention Jesus Christ forgiving from the cross of Calvary.
The truce signing was only the beginning for the Hatfield and McCoy descendants. These two famous families have since been actively involved in spreading a message of forgiveness, conflict resolution, and educating the public on the details of a great feud that has become known throughout America.
Since the days of the feud, the Hatfield’s and McCoy’s image as war-hardened, lawless mountaineer families has given way to a new image embracing compassion, leadership and public service.
Reo Hatfield, representing the Hatfields in signing the truce, followed a family tradition by serving more than 25 years with the Waynesboro Police Department Auxiliary Unit. “My grandfather was the chief of police in Matewan, West Virginia for several years, and my grandfather on my mother’s side was a deputy sheriff,’” said Reo. Hatfield’s son, Reo III, serves as an officer with the Virginia Beach Police Department.
The Hatfields are no longer branded as outlaws, but rather law enforcing servants of the communities in which they live. Ron McCoy, one of the two McCoy descendants that signed the truce, wrote Reunion, a book detailing his journey in discovering his families’ history, and the coming together of the famous families.
Ron has been an invaluable leader in educating the public on the feud, as well as the families’ reconciliation.
The feud descendants have been featured on many nationally televised programs, and have brought their message of reconciliation to a multitude of events in Eastern Kentucky and around the country. Most recently, the Hatfields and the McCoys held several seminars with a question and answer segment at the Tennessee Bar Association’s annual conference, featuring talks by Ron McCoy, William Keith Hatfield and Bob Scott, also of Hatfield descent.
“When visitors ask me, ‘are the Hatfields and McCoys still feuding?’ it gives me great pleasure to tell their story,” said Tony K. Tackett, Pike County Tourism CVB Executive Director. “How they came together, and became advocates for conflict resolution, peace, and forgiveness. If the Hatfields and McCoys can forgive each other, and get along, so can the rest of us.”
The Hatfield and McCoy descendants will be in Pikeville, Kentucky during this year’s Hatfield and McCoy Heritage Days, September 22-24, 2017. They will be meeting and greeting visitors, and telling family stories passed-down through the generations. A special memorial service will be held at the McCoy Well in Hardy, KY, on the Sunday of the event, September 24. This event will feature Hatfield McCoy monologue actors from the Blood Song: The Story of the Hatfields and the McCoys outdoor theatre production, as well as music by Troy Burchett and Jason Goble. Descendants Reo Hatfield, Margie Annette, Ron McCoy and Bob Scott will open the service, with Pastor William Keith Hatfield speaking.
For more information about Hatfield McCoy Heritage Days, visit www.TourPikeCounty.com.
More information on the Hatfield and McCoy Heritage Days is found inside our NEWS AND ATTRACTIONS page accessible from out Home Page.  

 

MAKING GLASS IN A UNIQUE HUNTINGTON, WV AREA TOURIST ATTRACTION

IMG_9105 webThis sight greets all tourists when they enter the Blenko Glass Visitor Center.

The temperature required to create beautiful glass items like those pictured above, stained glass mosaics, or glass panes ranges around 2000 degrees. If you’d like, you’re invited to stop in and see for yourself exactly how its done. Should the temperature drift another 150 to 200 degrees higher, it all will melt. This 130-year-plant in Milton, West Virginia, just east of the Huntington Mall is one-of-a-kind in the United States. There are one or maybe two plants that still make glass panes and textured glass panels, but the Blenko Glass Company still makes all the beautiful blown glass items that decorators covet. They also do stained glass, glass panes, and glass panels.

Craftsman's Touch

 The craftsman’s touch,  the art of shaping blazing hot glass fresh out of the oven! Blenko Glass began in 1893 when Engishman Bill Blenko got everything started, according to Dean Six, plant manager.  Several special events are put on at the factory each year.  

 FEED SACKS AND THEIR PLACE IN THIS REGION “BACK IN THE DAY”

A retired Pike County English teacher, Cathy Bartley, has written a sweet children’s book called Feed Sack Rich. Her book describes a large crowd of women in the Pike County community of Marrowbone who would gather early Thursday morning for the regular shipment of animal feed.  The food was important to the families there, but so were the eye-catching sacks they were packed in.  There was a good variety of prints and patterns on these bags. Sacks for sugar, flour, hams, sausages, seed, and fertilizer took over for barrels and boxes around 1857.

Remember Older Products With Practical Benefits? Feed Sacks, Free Dishes, and Collectible Containers

From the turn of the century, lasting until the eary 60s Americans would routinely re-use product containers, and shop for popular products containing free gifts such as dishes. Peanut butter cans, yes tin cans originally, were saved. People would save cans that once contained legendary Prince Albert tobacco and some would place them atop their mailboxes to let the mailman know to pick up outgoing mail. Flour companies serving eastern Kentucky would put new plates inside their sacks of flour, as housewives collected the entire sets over time. One of the most remembered extra-value items collected by everyday citizens was feed sacks. Feed companies selling bags of middlings, made of finely ground wheat and other ingredients and fed to young pigs and hogs required tightly woven cloth to seal in the contents, Over time the feed companies realized that attractive fabrics that families could later use to make make numerous items like clothes, quilts.

feed sack feature

An old photo showing the beautiful patterns, unfortunately in black and white.

A retired Pike County English teacher named Cathy Bartley has written a sweet children’s book called Feed Sack Rich. Her book describes a large crowd of women in the Pike County community of Marrowbone who would gather early Thursday morning for the regular shipment of animal feed.  The food was important to the families there, but so were the eye-catching sacks they were packed in.  There was a good variety of prints and patterns on these bags. Sacks for sugar, flour, hams, sausages, seed, and fertilizer took over for barrels and boxes around 1857.

IMG_0223

Author Cathy Bartley knows about the wonderful blessing of feed sacks in her grade school days.

They were all picked out by this group of customers as they would strive to get the better of the feed sack patterns of the day ahead of a neighbor. In a few areas served by different feed suppliers, the sacks were not as elaborate, but were still made of the finely woven muslin fabric that was a bone white or nearly ivory color. The feed company would print their name on the feed sacks, but with a good bleaching, all you had left was the desired fabric to have the neighborhood seamstress turn into a usable garment for a quarter or a bit more. Medium florals, large florals, polka dots, stripes, plaids, solids and ornate designs were manufactured. Themed prints for gardening and kitchens were common, along with hankie and border print feed sacks as well. Some feed sack prints were designed for specific seasons and months, and there were even prints highlighting different geographic areas. Pop culture was not ignored by the feed sack fabric manufacturers either — it’s possible to find Disney-themed feed sacks, including Alice in Wonderland, Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck. A Gone with the Wind design was even created and well circulated.! The fabric from these bags was used to make clothing, quilts, pillowcases, diapers,  and items such as curtains, dish towels and aprons, up until the early 1960s, when most of the fabric bags were replaced with paper ones. 1850s stuff shipped in barrels and boxes. Then plain fabric feed sacks began to appear, for flour, seed, sugar, flour, hams, sausages, and fertilizer. Materials were available in U. S., U. K. and Canada Many patterns were specific to a region, and would be seasonal. Gone with the wind  Disney characters, etc. The beloved feed sacks finally went away in the sixties replaced by paper sacks.

FEED SACK RICH IS AVAILABLE BY REQUEST AT 606-432-4963  or for more information by e-mail at cathybartley@suddenlink.net

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