Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia on July 13, 1975 · Page 14
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Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia · Page 14

Charleston, West Virginia
Issue Date:
Sunday, July 13, 1975
Page 14
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One Thing Sure About Feud: It's Over BvGrcf **·*»·* nmyi^k think it might be or try to and McCoys to Broadway in 1916 ^.f^^i^!^ Gunsmith Busy at His Craft Gary Casteel Examines Kentucky Rifle APWirephoto By Grtf Tt* MMUUW* dlt OMAR. W. Va. (AP) - At the Hatfield Cemetm off U.S. 119 near here stands a life-sized" marble statue of old Devil Anse, the family patriarch. His back is turned forever on Kentucky McCoy country. About the only other landmark in the region of America's most famous family feud is the Hatfield-MeCoy auto dealership in the next county. Little else remains except the stereotype, the view that two primitive groups of mountain riffraff and bearded brutes engaged in the unholiest of hillbilly wars. As the feud wound down, history says, the two sides waded back into the obscurity of the mountains. Eighty years later, the Hatfields and McCoys no longer live up to their infamous reputation, if indeed they ever did. They live peacefully along the Tug Fork River, the Hatfields in West Virginia and the McCoys in Kentucky. '"'You know, they go squirrel hunting," explained Jimmy Wolford, an advertising manager for a Williamson radio station and a great-great-nephew of Randall McCoy. "Most of the McCoys I know are pretty much mountain people that like to hunt and fish. Very gentle people; very religious people -- mostly Baptists, Church of God. And they sing! I've never known a family of people that sing as well as McCoys." Edwin Hatfield, assistant manager of a Williamson tire firm, recently traced his family back to 1600 when Thomas Hatfield . fled England for Holland to avoid religious persecution. Edwin's grandfather was Floyd Hatfield, who owned the hog that Randall McCoy claimed was his -- a situation which kindled the feud. "It's part of American history as far as I'm concerned," Hatfield said. "Now, I don't mind seeing it publicized, but I think it should be publicized in the right vein. The Hatfields were not saints; neither were the McCoys. They were moonshiners on both sides. There was meanness, you might say, on both sides. And it's not good against evil, or anything like that, as so many people think it might be or try to make it to be. "And I know you'll find more Hatfields talking about it than you do McCoys. You don't find too many McCoys that say. 'I'm a direct descendant."' When asked why, Hatfield answered with the wry humor of a classic mountain man: "Maybe it's because we killed them all off." Jimmy Wolford suggests there might be another reason for the reluctance of the McCoys to discuss their history. "The McCoys are a quiet bunch of people," Wolford said. "They're not hung up on it. The Hatfields are hung up on who killed who and who's kin to who, and the McCoys don't seem to be as interested in it as the Hatfields. "They sort of kid about it. I was in the hospital and I heard one Hatfield say to a McCoy, 'We could clean everybody out of this here hospital if we wanted to, couldn't we?' 'Yea.' And they laughed." About seven years ago, a community group investigated the feasibility of staging a Hatfield-McCoy outdoor musical in Williamson. It was completed, but ended up 100 miles east in Beckley, where it has been playing successfully ever since. Folksinger Billy Edd Wheeler has reportedly considered bringing the Hatfields ^^^^^^^^^^^^·······^^^^^·^··^^^·^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^H and McCoys to Broadway in 1916 Edwin Hatfield hats his own opinion "It would be nice that, since it is a world-known fact, if there is a play or something, it should be right in here where it actually happened so that people could see the locale," Hatfield said. "It's known all over the world. Just for example, we had a youth exchange here and a young boy named Francois came over from France and when he came into the house here, the first thing he did, 1 noticed, he started looking at my ears. "And finally I got to the point where I asked him what it was. And he said in France the Hatfields and McCoys is a cartoon in the movies and the Hatfields have big ears and the McCoys have big noses. And he was looking to see about my ears." Hatfield says he doesn't think there is much chance of a resurgence of the feud. The family tie no longer exists in these rugged mountains, he says, there's no single clan leader anymore. Wolford says education and exposure to the outside world have changed the perspectives of the post-feud descendents. We're really more educated now, and I think education has a lot to do with it," said Wolford. "I think if I hadn't gone to high school and gone to a couple years of and traveled lie 1 have travekd, and met people like 1 have, and had been cooped up back here in these mountains, 1 think I'd probably hate the Smiths or somebody . - - Maybe I'd be going to war against them.'" 83rd ANNUAL SUMMER SHOE SALE LADIES'SHOES Regular 13.00 TO 30.00 9* Itf* \f TO *V Rmmfcr... A Pater's Safe b AS* 228 CAWTOl ST.-SMCEISf 2 // Gunsmith Had His Choice, He'd Go Back to 18th Century By Tom Waller Timei-Wett Virginian FAIRMONT, W. Va. W - If he had his choice, Gary Casteel would be a backwoodsman in the Monongahela Valley during the 18th century. Instead, he wears clothes from that pre- Revolutionary period and hand makes replicas of the American Kentucky rifle, the muzzle loading flintlock gun used by the woodsmen and traders who explored the Appalachians. "I started when I was 16," said Castell, who divides his time between Pricketts Fort near here, where he will evenually be part of a permanent craftmen staff, and his gun shop in his native Kingwood. "It was my love of guns that got me interested, even though I've been a history buff since I was just a small boy. I started out making garbage, as anyone does when they first start out. "I began with percussion rifles since they are the easiest. Then I met some experienced gunsmiths and saw what could be done with engraving and wood carving," he said. His working replicas of the American Kentucky rifles sell for $1,000 and take two weeks to complete. He estimates he has produced "at least 50" of the guns. Only the locks and barrels are machine made. "If I was to make everything, the guns would have to sell for three or four thousand dollars," he explained. Most of the construction time is spent in carving the rich wood stocks and engraving the metalwork on the stock plates. "The American Kentucky is the only true American rifle," he said. "It was the first gun to be constructed in America and the only one not modeled after a European gun." Although the basic design came from the German Jaeger rifle, it was modified after it was brought to the colonies, he noted. "We don't really know what specific type of Kentucky rifle was used in this area," he said. "This was a trading area chiefly and the gunmakers didn't come into this region until later." Pricketts Fort, being reconstructed for the bicentennial, was built in 1773 and dismantled 20 years later after peace was made with the Indians of the area. ATTENTION Aircraft owners and pilots with aircraft based at Kanawha Airport. Did you know that you have been pay ing the highest price for aviation fuel in the State of West Virginia and among the highest on the East Coast? Eagle Aviation Inc. proudly announces the end of monopoly at Kanawha Airport. Eagle Aviation intends to deliver to the aviation public full and complete aviation service at a fair and equitable price. Aviation fuel prices in effect immediately at EAGLE AVIATION TEXACO 1100 Octane 67/gal. · 80 Octane 64/gal. · Jet-A 64/gal. *PRKES EFFECTIVE THROUGH TUESDAY JULY 15,1975 FIRST-OF-WEEK STAR VALUES! ARMOUR STAR CANNED CUBED, BUCKET STEAKS CHOPPED, BEEF 5LB. * · · · · * · · · · VHH STEAKETTES .$' 0. $ $ LB. ·Quantity Rights Reserved! FAIRMONTS 2 % MILK $137 GAL. 1 PERSONAL SIZE HUNTS KETCHUP 14-OZ.' BTLS. * PRODUCE * FRESH, PEACHES POUND 39" NECTA SWEET SUGAR SUBSTITUTE 50Cttt.Bn CILETTE FOAM SHAVE CREME · REC. $1.09 Vibe L CANS JKJ FOR FURTHER INFORMATION.PHONE 346-070?| DELI DEPT.. STAR VALUES FRESH FRENCH BREAD 9* DELI DEPT V STAR VALUES FRESH BAKED BEANS ». 5 9 * »

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