Sunday, June 3, 2012

McCoy Cemetery

McCoy Cemetery marker 2067 in McCarr, Pike County, KentuckyPike County, KY
Marker Number: 2067

Marker Text: Among the graves in the McCoy Cemetery are those of Randolph McCoy's three sons - Tolbert, Pharmer, and Randolph Jr. - all killed by the Hatfields. Also buried here are Alifair and Calvin McCoy, who were killed by the Hatfields when cabin was burned. Cemetery is part of the Hatfield-McCoy Feud Historic District. Presented by Pikeville-Pike County Tourism.

Location: In McCarr, Kentucky on KY Route 319 east of the intersection with Route 1056, next to the McCarr Post Office, at the same location as the Hog Trial and Election Fight historical marker on the same lot. Erected by the Kentucky Historical Society, Kentucky Department of Highways in 2001.

  While traveling through Pike County I found this marker about the McCoy Cemetery while taking photos for the Hog Trial and Election Fight marker. I attempted to look for the cemetery but only later realized the cemetery was located on top of the hill behind the McCarr post office. I looked on Google Earth to locate the cemetery and noticed the road leading to the cemetery would not have been easy to find, at least for someone unfamiliar with the area. While doing research on the cemetery I discovered I probably could not have entered the cemetery or taken photos since the cemetery is now located on private property and there is no public access.

McCoy Cemetery marker 2067 in McCarr, Pike County, Kentucky  I attempt to seek photos of graves related to markers, but I also respect private property and will not violate someone's property just to get a photo. Occasionally, there is someone I can ask to gain permission, but often not and some have big No Trespassing Signs prominently displayed. While living in southern WV I discovered hundreds of small family cemeteries existed throughout the hills of Appalachia and often are called by family names, but there can also be multiple cemeteries sharing the same family name.

  Though this marker states it is about the McCoy Cemetery, it should also not be viewed as The McCoy Cemetery. For example, Randolph McCoy and his wife are not buried here, they are buried in the Dils Cemetery in Pikeville, KY. While doing research I discovered stories of a couple of McCoy burial places in the area and even some who state the individual's mentioned on the marker are buried here or state they are not buried here, but in one of the other McCoy burial sites. According to one account there are only eight graves in this cemetery, but it warrants a marker because whose buried here were the major victims of the Feud.

McCoy Cemetery marker at site with Hog Trial/Election Fight marker

The McCoy Cemetery marker is on the right in the background on the same site as the Election Fight/Hog Trial marker.  Click any photo to enlarge.

  The McCoy family experienced many losses due to the feud. Family members who died as a result of the Pawpaw Tree Incident and the burning of the McCoy home are reportedly buried here in the McCoy Cemetery not far from locations of both of these events.

McCoy Cemetery marker at Hog Trial site, marker in background.  According to some stories about the Pawpaw Tree incident, the bodies of the McCoy boys were placed on a sled drawn by oxen and made a slow trip up Blackberry Fork. At the headwaters of the creek, the bodies were taken over a ridge and down the other side of the mountain to a tributary of Pond Creek where the Randolph McCoy cabin was located. While another account states, the bodies of the three boys were buried in hillside graves a few hundred feet downstream from the McCoy cabin. Meanwhile, Dutch Hatfield, whom I quoted in my post on “Hatfield-McCoy Feud” marker in Matewan, WV, said he doesn't believe the bodies in any of these locations. He states that an old man familiar with the feud told Hatfield in his youth that the bodies were buried further up the creek on the other side of the hollow.

  Different stories by different individuals is what makes understanding the facts of the feud difficult, but that is the story of the infamous feud, a lot of legends and few facts and lot of “yellow” journalism by the media at the time.


  1. Hi, great job! I just wanted to say that I have been trying to find the location of Mccoy's family cemetery. On Google Maps, it shows the cemetery behind the Hog Trial location as Hatfield Cemetery. Along with that little bit of confusion, Google Maps shows the cemetery behind the Hog Trial location as a "Hatfield" cemetery. Now I'm confused a little more...(not by you)

    1. Thanks, Paul for visiting my blog. Finding cemeteries in Kentucky and West Virginia can be challenging. I discovered that what local residents call something is often different than the signs posted name it. I have seen old photos of grave markers for the people the marker says are buried in the McCoy Cemetery but they did not describe the location where they took the photos.

    2. The cemetery is located on private property and the owner will not allow people on the property only family of the mccoys

  2. All,

    The McCoy family cemetery is actually located a few miles in the opposite direction and across the road from where Randall's home once stood. I have been to the graves and there is a beautiful monument as well as the original headstones but the owner, ironically a descendant of Jim Vance, will not allow anyone access to it except those who can prove they are related to the McCoys buried there. My great great grandfather was Jim McCoy, a sibling to all the children of Randall and Sarah who are buried there, and active in the feud.

    1. Thank you for that information. I often find it difficult to locate some of the places mentioned on markers and have to make guesses based on whatever limited information I can discover. I was in that location when I took the photo of the Randall McCoy Home marker. I appreciate your taking the time to share this information.

  3. Edward,
    Unfortunately the present owner will not allow visits regardless of McCoy Family relationships. I don't know what he wants, but visits from relatives are not allowed.

  4. The Mccoy cemetery is owned by a member of the Hatfield clan, believe it or not. Unless you are in the Mccoy bloodline you can not go to the cemetery and even those related can only go 3 or 4 times a year. The marker is 3 miles down the road from the cemetery because the owner would not allow the state to place it anywhere near it.