Monday, August 27, 2012

They Gave Their Lives for Tourism: The Hatfields and McCoys

The recent History Channer mini-series, The Hatfields & McCoys, has sparked new interest in that long ago Kentucky-West Virginia feud.  My intent here is not to tell that story, but to illustrate how some communities can capitalize on past events to fuel the history tourism business.  The folks at the Pikeville/Pike County Kentucky Tourism Commision have done just that with the recent publication of the Hatfield-McCoy Feud Driving Tour.  I think it is a brilliant idea, and may just bring a few dollars into an otherwise obscure part of Kentucky.

Link to the driving tour

               A page from the Hatfield - McCoy Driving Tour

Kevin Costner plays William Anderson Hatfield, (or "Devil Anse" Hatfield as he was known then) in the mini-series.  I think Costner is physically a much bigger man, but I suspect his personality could never stand up to that of the original Devil Anse.

You can read more about William Anderson Hatfield here:

William "Devil Anse" Hatfield in 1910

When I was a young company commander at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri back in the 80s, there was a retired Sgt Major there named Glen Dye.  We became good friends.  Glen was also a "gun guy," a sniper from the Korean War era (He used the M1-D and the 1903A4 rifles), and a great storyteller.  Most importantly, he was the great-grandson of Devil Anse Hatfield.  Glen really didn't know what to do with him self after retirement, so he often gravitated down to his old battalion so he could be near soldiers.  Although retired, he was still a soldier through and through. 

Glenn could describe every fight that occurred between the Hatfields and McCoys in detail down to what gun each participant was carrying at the time and what bullets holes were created in each person.  He said the Hatfield men were generally small fellows and all preferred S&W revolvers because of the smaller grips.  The McCoys were Colt men.  I wonder if the film picked up on that difference.

Glenn gave me his sterling silver double star Combat Infantryman's Badge as a going away present.  He earned if for participation in WWII, Korea and the Vietnam War.  I still have Glen's CIB and will always remember the stories he told while sitting in my company orderly room.
Double Star Combat Infantryman's Badge

1 comment:

  1. I love your blogs on the Hatfields and McCoys, thank you for all the information. I hope you continue~~