America's <i>Real</i> Family Feuders Reunite

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The famed feudin' Hatfields and McCoys met again this weekend...but CBS News Correspondent Jim Krasula reports this time it was at a church service "of unity" on the Matwan-Buskirk Bridge over the Tug River.

Softball bats were the weapons of choice Saturday as the Hatfields and McCoys took each other on during a friendly game of softball.

"We kind of took a beating in the last one, so we kind of wanted to win," said Billy Jack McCoy, referring to the bitter post-Civil War feud that look the lives of five of family patriarch Randolph McCoy's children.

Hatfields and McCoys sat next to each other in the stands during the event touted as a way to end the feud once and for all. They cheered, booed and even made a few jokes about getting their guns following a bad call.

"We won't be shooting anybody, but we'll sure be giving the jabs," said Pam McCoy Brooks, of Harold, explaining before the game what she'd do if the McCoys were victorious.

The McCoys came away with bragging rights, winning the five-inning game 15-1.

Nearly 3,000 feud descendants and curious members of the public gathered in Pikeville for the second day of the first mass gathering between the historic enemies.

The reunion has also had a serious tone. Many descendants said they want to use their last names to promote tourism in the economically depressed region, and to help debunk stereotypes about mountain folk that stem partially from coverage of the feud.

Prior to a group photo with the two families, Gov. Paul Patton praised the descendants for coming to Pikeville, and advised them to "take pride in the fact that you are descended from a hearty mountain stock."

Following Patton's speech, a teary-eyed Ron McCoy, a reunion organizer from Durham, N.C., read the names of the 12 people who died as a result of the feud, and then directed the crowd to take a moment of silence.

"Many men and women gave their lives and shed their blood as part of this feud and they all did it in the name of family and honor, family honor was above all the most important thing to them and to us here," Ron McCoy said.

Conflict associated with the feud between the McCoys of Kentucky and the Hatfields of West Virginia ended by 1900. It's not clear what exactly initiated the gunfire, but competition over timber resources and a trial over a stolen pig escalated tensions between the two families.

For many, the weekend provided an opportunity for members of both families to meet each other. Others grew up together.

Diana McCoy, who grew up in West Virginia near the Hatfield homeplace, said she attended school with some Hatfields. When she found out one had a crush on her, she said she didn't return the affection.

"I said it's good to be friends, but not that good of friends," she said.


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  • CBSNews.com staff CBSNews.com staff

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