Even 127 years after the end of the Feud, public interest in the story of the “Hatfields & McCoys” remains high. Over the past twenty years, I have been asked to speak on the subject of the Feud before a variety of civic and community groups in venues large and small. It is always a privilege to have the chance to tell about my family’s history and to talk about all the wonderful things the Hatfield and McCoys have done collectively over the years. One of the most interesting opportunities I have ever received was a chance to speak to the Tennessee Bar Association’s Annual Convention in Kingsport, TN on June 14, 2017.
Joining me on the platform to offer their perspective and expertise were my friends Billy Hatfield, the great-grandson of “Devil Anse” Hatfield, Bob Scott, Pike County Tourism Board member and owner of the former McCoy homestead and Tony Tackett, Tourism Director for Pike County, KY. We were asked by the TBA to speak on a variety of Feud-related subjects: Billy presented a session on Feud history as well as a session on conflict resolution that considered approaches that might have aided in resolving the inter-personal conflicts of the Feud. I spoke on the role that the “law” and pursuit of “justice” played in the latter portion of the Feud. Lastly, I had the chance to tell the story of my personal “reunion” with my family’s history and the life-changing effect it has had on me. Finally, Bob, Billy and I came together for an open-panel session led Tony Tackett that examined the achievements of the Hatfield and McCoy families in the modern era and the future of ongoing Hatfield-McCoy endeavors.
The TBA Convention was a delightful opportunity to speak with judges and attorneys from across the state of Tennessee on the subject of the Feud. I also had the chance to meet a “new” cousin of mine, retired Davidson County Chancellor Carol McCoy, a great-great-great granddaughter of Randolph and Sarah McCoy. Above all, the TBA Convention offered another chance for the “Hatfields & McCoys” to demonstrate the ongoing power of grace and forgiveness. In this day and age, this is a positive message we should continue to promote: if the “Hatfieds & McCoys” can come together in peace and fellowship, then there is still hope for the world.