Monday, December 3, 2012

Haunted Travels: Middle Creek Battlefield and the Hatfield & McCoy Family Feud

When the leaves are at their peak of color, I always enjoy a long drive though the mountains and back roads of our local area to enjoy the colors and scenery during the transformation of the trees. Usually while out for our annual drive, I try to find some historic and haunted locations for some added side trips along the way. This year, I chose to travel Eastern Kentucky, from Catlettsburg to Pikeville and from there over to Matewan and back up north to Huntington on old Rt. 52 though Mingo and Wayne Counties. Im pretty familiar with old Rt. 52 down to Matewan but I am less familiar with the Kentucky side. We didn’t really have a specific destination in mind when we headed out, but along our journey we chose a few interesting stops on along the way.

Our first stop was to visit Middle Creek Battlefield just west of Prestonsburg, Kentucky. Not only did I stop there because of the rumors of it being haunted, but more so to take a moment to remember the battle that took place there. I enjoy visiting Civil War sites, as I enjoy history and learning about the area in which we live. There is a certain ambiance a site like this has, maybe not on the same scale as Gettysburg but when you are there you know you are walking on scared ground. The site was eerily quiet and just sitting off to the side of a well traveled thoroughfare. We were the only visitors present at the time, and we walked part of the field and stopped at the historic markers. While I do not know of any specific hauntings of the battlefield, given its bloody past surely there may be some residual energy left behind. There have been a number of investigations by other groups that have taken place at Middle Creek Battlefield and some have yielded results.

(Just a side note to those out there who enjoy ghost hunting: With any investigation, you need to show a considerable amount of reverence of certain locations when investigating. A battlefield, a church, historically significant site or a cemetery would be a place that deserves added respect while investigating. Any location deserves respect, but when on such sacred ground, the amount of respect toward these areas should be top priority to help protect and preserve the history of these sites.)

After leaving the battlefield we headed on to Pikeville. I have never been in Pikeville long enough to explore much, and although we didn’t stay too long we decided to explore two of Kentucky and West Virginia’s most famous families: The Hatfield’s & McCoy’s.

They call it America’s most famous feud, and indeed it is still capturing attention to this day. While in Pikeville we walked up the hill to the Dils Family Cemetery where a number of members of the McCoy family are buried, including the heads of the McCoy family – Randolph and Sarah McCoy. Their former home is only a few blocks away from the cemetery. Many legends surround Pikeville and the two families, and on over to Matewan on the West Virginia side, where the Hatfield’s lived. After the cemetery, we drove part of the Hatfield- McCoy trail up to Matewan (site of the Matewan Massacre), and made stops at the Hog Trial Site and the site of the PawPawTree Incident. With all of the tragic deaths that took place during the feud all those years ago I’m sure they have left a haunting impression on the area.

The areas in which both families are from, my ancestors are from also. I have no direct ties to the Hatfield’s or McCoy’s, but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard the name Hatfield in particular from my older family members who grew up in Pike County Kentucky and surrounding areas.

One awesome trip and a number of potentially haunted places were abundant in South Eastern Kentucky and Southern West Virginia. I always enjoy exploring the area of my ancestors, because you just never know what you might learn or if you will find an awesome haunted place!

HPIR Founder


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