Experience West Virginia: Jennifer Abney Visits Mingo County - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

Experience West Virginia: Jennifer Abney Visits Mingo County

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Welcome to Mingo County, also known as Hatfield-McCoy country.  Our first stop here is at the Matewan Depot Museum, where it becomes obvious that this is a small town with big history.  

Not just because of America's most famous feuding families, but for the fight for fair working conditions and the right to unionize. Both needs came to light in the famous Mine Wars - the Matewan Massacre and The Battle of Blair Mountain in the early 20th century.

After a stroll through the past, we're intrigued by a much more modern sight along the tug river  - an air boat!! 

Meet boat captain Keith Gilbert with Hatfield and McCoy Airboat Tours,"people would come here on tour buses and look around and say what is there to do and I like airboats so I thought I'll try to put them together."

So, while some people come to this part of the state to learn about the Hatfield and McCoys, our tour guide is actually making history.  We got to go out with the very first airboat tour guide service in the state, right along the Tug Fork. 

Keith gave us a visual history lesson about his hometown, so back to that famous feud I mentioned earlier.

"The Hatfields and McCoys history is all up and down this river," said Keith,"The McCoys were over there in Kentucky and Hatfields were here in West Virginia." 

Keith says, they crossed the river here in Matewan, and just past the curve in the river is where the Hatfields killed the two McCoys in the paw paw tree incident. 

So, with that fresh in our minds, we head off to our next stop, a winding but scenic drive over to Gilbert, WV where our Hatfield and McCoy adventure continues.

Since the lines of history and the myth can become blurred, we decided to get the story right from a descendant of the famous clans.

What better place to look than at Hatfield & McCoy Moonshine.

"My mother-in-law is the oldest of the Hatfields here," said Chad Bishop of Hatfield and McCoy Moonshine,"her name is Nancy Hatfield." 

Chad, along with his family, now runs the legal moonshine business out of a former garage.  They started production in 2013 and are now in eight states and sell online.

"They had the name, I had the know-how," said Chad. 

Part of his job is keeping close wraps on that 150 year old moonshine recipe his mother-in-law gave him.  

"She brought it up here in a bible and opened it up and said here it is," said Chad, "I'm the only one that knows it besides her." 

Nancy Hatfield is no stranger to making moonshine.

"My daddy made moonshine," she said, "we used to bottle it out of our bathtub with him."

Although it is a much more refined process for her family now, it still amazes her.

"I never dream, I thought we'd be selling to ATV riders, not in Sams Club and Walmart!" 

You can also find Nancy at her other business, catering to those ATV riders, at the Devil Anse Trail House. It was designed to look like her family's old homestead.

We just had to ask - how did her great great grandfather earn that name? 

According to Nancy, "Nancy Vance was his mother she said he was 180 lbs of devil he was so mean when he was young ... he must have been a character!" 

And in case you are wondering ... yes ... this generation of the Hatfield family does get along with those McCoys! 

"I love the McCoys, we get along fine," said Nancy, "They would stop by and see me and say they were going to kill me and I would say better be careful I got my gun there.  We would always cut up .. they are the nicest people."

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