WASHINGTON — The home of Randall McCoy, the patriarch of the famed McCoy family, and the site of the deadly 1888 New Year’s Day showdown between the Hatfields and the McCoys, and 125-year-old artifacts from that feud have been uncovered in rural Kentucky.
The discovery was made by the Diggers team, shooting an episode of the National Geographic Channel series, and confirmed by Kim McBride, co-director of the Kentucky Archaeological Survey
This site, on private property in rural Hardy, Ky., had long been speculated to be the McCoy’s land and the site of the final family feud. Remains of the cabin where the family lived and artifacts from the site where the most famous feud in American history went down, however, had never been uncovered until now.
The new National Geographic Channel series Diggers premiered Jan. 1. The episode detailing the McCoy homestead discovery airs Jan. 29 at 10 p.m.
Diggers hosts, amateur scientists, metal detector enthusiasts and history buffs, George “KG” Wyant and Tim “Ringy” Saylor, first discovered what they thought were clear signs that finally proved the McCoy home was on the property and that this was the site of the final Hatfield-McCoy standoff, which helped to end at least a decade of family fighting.
Conferring with the private landowners and working with Diggers staff archaeologist, Kate Culpepper, and local historian Bill Richardson, the team pinpointed the location of the home and discovered charred wooden board remains, as well as specific items from the home, including possible parts from a stove, nails and a plow blade fragment.
After they found the burned wood and artifacts, Wyant and Saylor followed protocol agreed on with the archaeology community at the start of the series production and called in McBride to verify the find.
The team screened shovel test units and recorded the site with the Kentucky Office of State Archaeology, to ensure the site was protected and the find was legitimate.
“This is an incredible discovery behind America’s greatest family feud,” said McBride. “After spending two days excavating at the site, we were pleased to find a number of original artifacts from the actual structure, such as window glass and both wrought and machine-cut nails, and we were able to trace the lineage of the property right back to Randall McCoy and his wife Sarah McCoy. As archaeologists, we are very excited to find real evidence to back theories that have abounded for decades.”
Property owners Bob and Rita Scott and Richard and Wanda Scott Goodman said, “It is tremendously gratifying to find these items connected to the feud. We expect visitors from all over the world to come and see these important artifacts.”
West Virginia University Extension Professor Bill Richardson said, “This is amazing. These appear to be actual bullets fired at the Hatfields by the McCoys in defense of their home. Nothing like this has ever been found before.”