When a Hatfield marries a McCoy
by Melissa Gillespie
The Hatfield McCoy Feud is one that will never be forgotten in Matewan. Even after the dust settled, no one ever thought that Hatfields and McCoys would be able to peacefully interact again.
Proving the vast majority wrong, the great-great-great-nephew of Randall McCoy and the great-great-great-great-granddaughter of Reverend-Preacher Anderson Hatfield have been married for decades, raised a family and are living happily in Matewan.
“When I married him I felt like it was just kind of a bonding experience with the Hatfields and McCoys,” says Kathy. “I never really thought it was a big deal.”
Whether it’s food, fun, or a place to stay while visiting, Kathy and Don McCoy are able to provide. Not only does the couple own a restaurant and inn that make up the Hatfield McCoy Resort. They also own the Real McCoy Trails, which is a business based around adventure and history.
About 20 years ago, when the couple decided to move back to the Matewan area, they did not have many plans.
“Family was more important,” says Don, as he explains that his kids were not fond of South Carolina or the beach that came with it. “We were living on a tropical paradise and needed to have more adventure in our lives.”
A preacher, who owned a house where the Historic Matewan Bed & Breakfast stands now, approached Kathy and Don. The man asked the couple if they were interested in purchasing a house, since his was up for sale.
The couple not only saw the house as a home, but also had a vision of turning it into a Bed & Breakfast. They began to renovate the building and when they were finished were able to name it the McCoy’s Mate Street Inn.
The Inn was short lived for Kathy and Don, as they then purchased the buildings across the street where their businesses—Wingo’s and The Hatfield McCoy Resort Inn—are now.
“We can’t quit, we can’t leave. We are not renters. We can’t just walk away from it,” says Kathy. “When you are here it becomes a part of you.”
Renovations to the restaurant and inn building were needed. And with the help of the Turn This Town Around grant, the renovations could be made. Kathy now manages both the restaurant and inn, while Don runs the Real McCoy Trails.
Don believed he would be farming for the rest of his life. But at age 51 he bought a dual motorcycle and his life changed forever. He began to ride through the trails of West Virginia and did extensive research on them. Don began to map out trails using his GPS. Once he did so, he named them the Real McCoy trails.
Now, a huge map with hand drawn routes and trails covers the back wall of Don’s business. These trails are essentially routes mapped together by Don, where riders are free to ride their dual sport bikes.
“What I’ve created is for legal adventure bikes, the fastest growing motorcycle sport in the nation,” says Don. “My heart went out to the community. I wanted to have something to enjoy, a way to bring adventure.”
Don was always passionate about the trails, but admits he was surprised at how quickly the Real McCoy Trails grew. Knowing an online presence was important for the trails’ success, he began to advertise and talk to different people across the globe.
He received a phone call from ADV rider, one of the largest dual sport companies in the nation. They wanted to know if Don would be interested in hosting a rider event in town. He was thrilled. There were a total of 120 people coming for the event, and every room available was booked on Mate Street.
Don frequents many riding events. He most recently went to an event with ADV Moto Magazine where he was able to meet up with some editors. The editors were scheduled to go to Maine, but changed their course and came to Matewan instead. Don was able to show them the trails and everything he has worked so hard on, all while they stayed in Kathy’s inn.
“I like seeing our town have more to offer,” says Don. “We just need to market ourselves more.”
Along with venturing off with Don on his rides and keeping both the inn and restaurant up and running, Kathy has worked hard for her town to see it prosper. She is a member of the City Council and the Matewan Branding Committee. Both groups aim to put Matewan’s best foot forward.
“We’ve been here so long now, I feel like we are a part of the town,” says Kathy. “We have a drive to make it succeed.”
Kathy is also planning to give back to her community by turning her restaurant’s kitchen, in part, to the community kitchen. She hopes that this will be the first year in which she can help the Farmer’s Market and community by allowing them to use her facilities.
“It is nice to see people working together,” says Kathy. “We are starting to see things turn around.”