Hatfields and McCoys
Haunted Tug Valley
Known as "Bloody Mingo", West Virginia's youngest county has quite the
violent and troubling past. Because of the history that played out in these deep dark hills, some locations throughout the Tug Valley are paranormal hot spots. For Directions to each location, simply click its' photo!
22 Mine Road.
Mamie Thurmond was found killed in Logan County June 21, 1932. Her throat was slashed ear to ear and she was shot twice in the left side of her head. A local boy found her body in a blackberry patch. Her jewelry was found with her, which ruled out the possibility of robbery being the motivation for the slaying. A handy man was eventually arrested and convicted of the murder. Mystery surrounds where she is buried and who actually killed her. Her death certificate says she was buried at Logan Memorial Park (in Logan County), but other records say she was laid to rest in Bradfordsville, Kentucky. Today there have been reported sightings of Thurmond’s ghost on 22 Mine Road.
The Dingess Tunnel.
The Dingess Tunnel was built in 1892 for the Norfolk and Western Railroad, largely by African American and Chinese immigrant workers. Legend has it that residents of Dingess, who didn't take kindly to outsiders, used to hide in the hills just outside the tunnel and shoot any dark skinned passengers aboard the train, according to various reports. No records were kept but it’s estimated that hundreds of black and Chinese workers died. In addition to the murders, workers also died during construction, and at least two trains collided on the tracks there, causing more deaths. The tunnel has the reputation of being haunted by the souls that perished there. One person even claims to have gotten a picture of a little ghost girl standing in the tunnel.
Located on two hill-sides overlooking West-Williamson, Fairview is the city's oldest cemetery (115+ Years). Many of the gravestones and markers are illegible or have dates from the 1800's. "Dips" in the hillside show the unfortunate collapse of older graves that have fallen in. The cemetery has two roads that "loop" around the entire property. Notably, Antoine "Tony" Gaujot, a Medal of Honor recipient and Wells Goodykoontz, a U.S. Congressman are both buried at Fairview.
Opened in 1928, this 50-bed facility served the Tug Valley Area for 60 Years. The hospital was built with funds from selling bonds to the business owners of Williamson. All were reportedly paid off by 1939. The hospital was named after Wallace J. Williamson, son of Benjamin Williamson who once owned all the land where the city is today. The building featured an ER, radiology department, cafeteria, obstetrics unit, multiple surgery rooms, an incinerator, and a pharmacy.
The old building was used as offices for 26 years (1988-2014) and has remained as a storage space since. Uniquely, the area is referred to as "College Hill" because a nurses training school was also located at the hospital. Located beside the hospital is the 1937-built nurses residence building which was used until 1949 for their dormitories. When the nursing school discontinued, it was used for business offices, laundry, and medical record storage. The facility has now been purchased by two locals who will open its doors to the public starting in 2021.
On May 19, 1920, 13 Baldwin-Felts detectives, including Al and Lee Felts, brothers of one of the agency founders, arrived in the Mingo County town of Matewan on the Tug Fork to evict striking miners and their families from company houses. The detectives, under an intermittent drizzle, forced several families, including women and children, from their homes at gunpoint and dumped their belongings out on the road. Word of the evictions enraged area miners, who began arming themselves.
Matewan’s police chief, Sid Hatfield, 27, a strike supporter, tried to stop the evictions as being unauthorized by law. At 4:00 p.m., as the detectives prepared to leave, Hatfield, accompanied by Matewan Mayor Cable C. Testerman and a host of angry miners, confronted Al Felts near the Matewan railroad station and tried to arrest him. Felts, in turn, tried to arrest Hatfield. As the men argued, shooting started.
Hatfield admitted he fired but said Al Felts shot first. A number of the miners and several detectives joined in. When it ended a minute or two later, ten people—seven Baldwin-Felts detectives (including both Felts brothers), two miners, and Mayor Testerman—had been fatally shot.
Hatfield and 17 strikers were tried for murder in early 1921 and were all acquitted; such was the hatred of the detective agency. The Matewan Massacre is often cited as the opening of the West Virginia Mine War of 1920–21, which escalated into an armed conflict involving thousands after Hatfield’s murder at Welch later in 1921.
The legend of Octavia Hatcher begins on January 4th 1891 when she gave birth to a son, Jacob in Pikeville, Kentucky. Sadly, he passed away within hours of birth and Octavia fell into a deep depression that left her bedridden for months and later slipped into a coma. On May 2nd, she was pronounced dead and buried in the Pikeville Cemetery. Interestingly, after she was buried, other residents in Pikeville started to fall ill with the same "sleeping sickness", perhaps, encephalitis. This sickness would leave suffers comatose, but not dead. Upon hearing this news, James Hatcher (Octavia's husband) worried there had been a horrible mistake when his wife was buried....and he was right. Upon having her grave exhumed, a horrible sight was revealed. Octavia's face was contorted, the lining of the coffin was torn up, and her fingernails were bloody and broken. Some residents have reported hearing a woman crying (believed to be Octavia's spirit) and other strange paranormal activity in the vicinity of her grave.
How to Visit:
Below is a map showcasing all the locations mentioned above. We encourage you to enjoy visiting the haunted locations of the Tug Valley Area but please be respectful of private property and do not litter.
Our region is full of incredible locations waiting for you to explore!