A real McCoy

Local woman has tie to History Channel miniseries

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Carolyn Wood, of Hayden, is a descendant of the McCoy family of Kentucky. Beginning Monday, the History Channel will be airing its mini-series based on the notorious Hatfield-McCoy feud that followed the Civil War.

HAYDEN LAKE - As the "Hatfields & McCoys" three-part, six-hour History Channel miniseries starts to roll tonight, Hayden Lake resident Carolyn Brooks Wood will be watching closely.

Wood, 62, considers herself a member of the McCoy family. She said she's a descendant of Sarah "Sally" McCoy, wife of Randolph "Randall" McCoy, the family's patriarch during the infamous Hatfield-McCoy feud in the West Virginia-Kentucky backcountry in the 1880s after the Civil War.

Wood says Sally McCoy is a great aunt. Sally McCoy's brother, Uriah McCoy, is her great-great-great grandfather, Wood said.

The miniseries stars Kevin Costner as Devil Anse Hatfield, the patriarch of the Hatfield family, and Bill Paxton as Randall McCoy. Costner is also a producer. The History Channel has been heavily promoting it.

"I have a feeling it will be really good," Wood said. "(Costner) is really into history. I want the facts. I'm hoping they tell our story correctly."

She said the feud is a big part of American history that many people living in the western U.S. don't know much about, especially younger people.

The feud between the populous families living along the Tug Fork of the Big Sandy River - which runs along the boundary between Kentucky and West Virginia - involved murders, a forbidden love between Roseanna McCoy (Randolph's daughter) and Johnse Hatfield property disputes and a stolen pig. There was plenty more the two families fought about.

"It shows what happened directly after the Civil War," she said. "Tensions were so high. There was so much tragedy and death."

Wood often travels back to Burnwell, Ky., for annual McCoy family reunions, at the Uriah McCoy home. Also, she said the Hatfields and McCoys have regular festivals together, so the bad blood has dissipated.

"We share stories and pictures, and look back at the genealogy," she said. "We talk about how we are related."

One aspect of the miniseries that will be of special interest to Wood is the portrayal of Roseanna.

Roseanna, in addition to having a forbidden love affair with one of the Hatfields, gets pregnant.

"I want to know if they'll mention my aunt Betty," Wood said.

Aunt Betty took care of Roseanna when she was pregnant. Roseanna McCoy damaged her relationship with her family by having a romance with Johnse Hatfield, and getting pregnant. She also stayed with the Hatfields for a time. Johnse Hatfield later abandoned the pregnant Roseanna, so Aunt Betty took her in, Wood said.

She said being part of the McCoy family has made her want to dig into history more and more.

"Someone has to carry on the torch and tell this story," she said. "That's why I'm so excited about this movie."

Part 1 premieres at 9 p.m. tonight; part 2 premieres at 9 p.m. Tuesday; and part 3 premieres at 9 p.m. Wednesday.

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