From magnolia to matewan
Matewan sits at the heart of West Virginia's Magnolia district. The magnolia district, along with the Harding and Lee districts, came together to form Mingo County in 1895. The naming of the small Magnolia town is a story in itself.
They say it started with a bear hunter and his favorite dog, Mate. Out on a hunt, the hound chased a particularly large bear onto the fragile ice of an unnamed creek. Giving way to the combined weights of the animals, the ice broke and both were lost. To remember his friend, the creek was memorially dubbed Mate Creek.
Years later, as the Norfolk & Western Railroad began breathing life into the region, a town was laid out by a young, homesick engineer. To pay homage to his roots, he suggested naming the town after his home, Mattewan, New York.
Throughout the years, the spelling and pronunciation of Mattewan has evolved to match the creek, already named Mate.
Matewan is the home to some of America’s most colorful history. The town sits at the heart of the Hatfield-McCoy Feud country and hosted the beginnings of a movement to reform fair working conditions and the right to unionize following the Mine Wars, Matewan Massacre and Battle of Blair Mountain in the early parts of the twentieth century.
Today, the small town of Matewan, West Virginia, sits along the Tug River, nestled between West Virginia and Kentucky. Hatfields and McCoys still inhabit the area. Experts in the field and passionate about their home, the people of Matewan have a story to tell about the town’s living history.