Local business changes names; undergoes extensive changes

Rachel Baldwin rbaldwin@civitasmedia.com

January 19, 2014

WILLIAMSON - One only has to enter the doorway of one of the revamped, remodeled rooms located on the 2nd floor of the Hatfield-McCoy House to take a step back into time, directly into the lives of several members of the Hatfield and McCoy clans who became famous from the violent, bloody feud that resulted in loss of life, and of love.

Wendy Hackney has lived in and operated the former Lynkous House for the past ten years, and has always been intrigued and fascinated by the history of the large structure that was the second home built in Mingo County by Jay Matt Smith, who was at the mayor at that time. Upon the death of the last member of the Lynkous family who were the last to reside there while it was still a private residence, the property was willed to the Presbyterian Church who then sold it to Hackney and her former spouse. It was converted into a Bed and Breakfast that was a popular location for tourists visiting the Tug Valley area to spend their stay, and is now being re-opened as the “Hatfield-McCoy House”.

Bill Richardson, who is a WVU Extension Services Professor and Hatfield and McCoy historian, is excited and honored to join Hackney in this venture, and with his wealth of knowledge and appreciation for the feuding families, seems to be a perfect fit for this partnership.

“Bill and I are both fanatics about the Hatfield-McCoy feud,” stated Hackney with a laugh. “Our shared love of history and our desire to create a unique experience for our visitors will hopefully have the end results we’re shooting for.”

The couple decided to take five of the guest rooms and base each one on a particular character from the feud. Those who will be honored with rooms dedicated to their lives and memories will be Roseanna McCoy, Johnsey Hatfield, Devil Ance Hatfield and Bad Frank, with the fifth room embracing the memory of the entire McCoy clan.

“With our love for the feud, the release of the Hatfield and McCoy mini series, other shows and documentaries that have been aired over the last two years, the History Channel reality show and the future opening of the Hatfield-McCoy Distillery, we seen the opportunity to embrace the past and create an immersive experience for our guests that will leave here with a different understanding and respect for the members of these two families,” remarked Richardson.

“And depending on what room you stay in, you will leave with a different perspective than your traveling companion that spent their time in a separate room. No two rooms delivers the same results.”

Richardson and Hackney explained that the changes they have implemented in the Hatfield-McCoy House goes way beyond placing a name on each bedroom or decorating it with a few historical items; it’s the little changes and personal touches that have been added that creates such a unique, one-of-a-kind atmosphere.

For instance, scattered around the room named in tribute to Roseanna McCoy, guests will find letters penned to Johncey Hatfield, the love of her life with whom she bore a child out of wedlock that resulted in her being cast out of her parent’s home. A photo of her love sits on the dresser while one of her father, Randall McCoy, hangs above her bed. Draped over a dressmaker’s mannequin is a wedding gown that she never got the pleasure of wearing. A diary containing entries that speak of what was going on doing the years of her life and the many tragedies she suffered and endured lies open on the desk, as if she simply walked away with every intention of returning to write another day.

“We have traveled a lot of different places to accumulate items from that time period that are similar to those the families would have possessed,” said Richardson. “We’ve purchased everything from furniture and antiques to saddles and tools…we have copies of the marriage license of Johncey Hatfield to Nancy McCoy, the cousin of Roseanna who stole her man and then married Bad Frank. We also have copies of Devil Ance’s military records that show he deserted his troops and his duties.”

“The intimate details is what sets the Hatfield and McCoy House apart from others,” stated Hackney. “Even our gift shop is unique. The items we offer are one-of-a-kind, with some being made by local crafters.”

The Hatfield-McCoy House is currently accepting guests, and the owner/operator said that she has already received several reservations for the spring and summer months. An open house has been scheduled to take place on Saturday, Feb. 1 between the hours of 2 and 4 p.m., to allow the public to see the changes that have been made.

“We invite everyone to stop by and join us in unveiling the new Hatfield and McCoy House,” said the couple. “We hope that the residents of this area will be as pleased with it as we are.”

For more information or to make a reservation, you are asked to call 304-235-3174. The nightly rate is $79.95 and that does include a continental breakfast. You may also visit their website at HatfieldMcCoyHouse.com.

Don’t just look for a room when you’re planning a trip to the Tug Valley area - look for an experience,” concluded Richardson.