Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Spring into Adventure on the Hatfield McCoy Trails...



Hey folks,
 Your ole pard Big Jim here, talkin' at ya from the heart of the Hatfield-McCoy Trails!

It's been a pretty ferocious winter to say the least. And many people are overly anxious for spring to arrive. We have had some good, spring type weather too, lately and even better- we have some fun events coming your way on the trails!

Got Cabin Fever? Never fear...HMT is gettin' spring in gear with fun events!
 The Cabin Fever Reliever - Mud Buddies Ride is right around the corner...Coming up on Saturday April 5, 2014 at the Buffalo Mountain Trail will be the first of many events coming your way this spring and summer courtesy of HMT......registration will begin at 9 am and the ride will take off at 10 am...hot dogs, chips, cookies/cakes, and drinks will be provided...so come on out and help support a good cause...Remember Mud Buddies is a non-profit organization which takes people with disabilities out on the trails so they can enjoy the excitement of riding the trails and making memories of a lifetime!!!


Members of the Logan Shrine Club have done a lot of fundraisers over the years, but if their newest event is successful, it just might become an annual one. I was asked to stop on by the Logan Shrine Club on Friday night and find out about the event the local Shriners have set for spring!
Club President Roger Porter told me the goal of the first Shriners ATV Ride and Poker Run is to have a lot of fun and raise some funds for the local charity by taking advantage of the Club's location in the center of Hatfield-McCoy Trails country.
Longtime Shriner Jeff Reagan is in charge of the event which will take place on Sunday, May 4, on the Bearwallow Trail Head in Logan County. The event will be staged at the DMV parking lot in Logan right in front of the Logan Shrine Club. Registration will begin at 9 a.m.
Porter and Reagan say that the event will bring in riders from across the country and region which should make it a success considering the low cost to get involved- the ride will require a $10 donation to recieve a one-day wristband to ride the trials and it will also get participants a t-shirt. Porter told members of the Logan Shrine Club they can expect some important visitors as well from the Beni-Kedem Temple in Charleston at the event.
 Roger Porter noted attendance to the event could be overwhelming and said volunteers will be needed to oversee and help out. Porter also asked members attending the ride to leave parking available near the club for visitors, many of whom may not be familiar with the town of Logan.
 "We will have EMTS coming, the West Virginia State Police are going to
 be there and we will also have the Hatfeild-McCoy Rangers," Jeff Reagan said,
 noting that 15 sponsors had stepped up and helped out with donations to help pay for the shirts and other expenses in organizing such an undertaking.
 Jeff Reagan noted that for a $10 donation, a rider will receive a one-day wrist band permit and t-shirt, as well as a lot of fun in the great outdoors and the chance to help out the local Shriners.
 "We can also sell hot dogs, and possibly other types of food that day," Jeff Reagan said. Jeff Reagan also noted that in addition to helping cook there will be a need for people to
 help with registration and to oversee the event. Jeff said Rangers will be in the hills where the ribbons will be located for participating riders to mark out the riding area at Bearwallow.Reagan said a high card draw will take
 place to break any ties.
 Remember- these special events are not just good causes- they are good fun too. And they are a great way to get a taste of the Hatfield-McCoy Trails if you have never tried a ride before, at the low cost of a one-day event pass. Tell your friends that this spring, HMT will be the place to be!

Friday, January 31, 2014

When disaster strikes....

Hey folks,

Big Jim here...When I was a young man, I used to drop by a police station to visit one of my college buddies who worked as a police officer. He was another outdoorsman and we were close pals. One day, he showed me a framed poster that was being installed in the stationhouse where the officers got ready for patrol or came in and hung out and decompressed before heading home.
 It was a very sardonic and funny poster based on the old concept of "Murphy's Law." It basically had comments like "never forget, your equipment was purchased from the lowest contract bidder" and so forth. The whole thing was a form of black humour to remind the men and women that when you least expect it bad things can happen and disaster can strike.

 We have had several weeks of EXTREME bad weather here...and across much of the rest of the USA for example. This got me to thinking about ways to deal with disaster when Mr. Murphy comes a callin' as we say in the mountains.

 Perhaps you have seen the television program, "Dual Survival" where two experts are put down in the woods replicating real life incidents where disaster struck and ill-prepared folks had to either find their way home, or dig in and make camp until somebody could get to them.

 By nature, I am a VERY positive thinking guy....But like everybody else I have had my share of small set backs and disasters especially dealing with mechanical and electronic devices. And it DOES pay to be prepared and to think about these sorts of things.

 When one of the experts on Dual Survival wrote his first book on the topic of survival in the woods, Cody Lundin labeled it "98.6 Degrees- The art of keeping your @$$ alive." It's a good book available at bookstores across the USA, online or in the Kindle format for e-readers and computers. Cody focused on the basics of how to cope when you get stuck in the woods and what sorts of things you can bring along with you to help you make it our in one piece.

 Whenever I go riding the trails I always carry a small messenger bag full of emergency stuff just in case, and I bring along plenty of water. Among the items I carry are a space blanket, a poncho, a large 55 gallon drum liner, matches in a water proof container, compass, flint and steel, a small fixed blade knife and a folding knife, flashlight, water purification tablets and plenty of paracord and other wire and cord. It doesn't take up much room and I can even lash it to a quad if need be for greater comfort. I also like to have some food too, just in case...
 In all honesty the only time I ever had to use ANY of this stuff was one day when riding, I came across some briars which I was able to cut down with my knife to avoid getting poked.
Still it is better to have this stuff and not need it than to need it and not have it.
  
 Anything can happen. Machines can break down. You could wreck and disable your machine. Etc... Nothing made by the hand of man is perfect. Now, I am not an expert so I  cannot tell you what you should do- we all hate back seat drivers don't we? But I can tell you what I would do if I got stranded on the trails due to an accident or mechanical failure.
 In the summer time, if the weather was good, I would try to walk my way out. Sometimes it is amazing how close to a road or a town you can be when out on the trails.
 However, winter time can be a bit more challengeing so let us focus on that... If I went riding on a day like today, for example, if I was on a trail like Hatfield-McCoy I would stop and tell the CSR or Ranger at the trailhead where I was going and when I planned to get out. I would try to come out before they were off duty too, just for safety's sake. That way, if I did not show up on time, somebody would know I was out there. I had a young couple from out of state one time who stayed out after we normally closed when I was a CSR. I hung out till one of our senior staffers could come by and go hunt for them. Everything was okay- they just lost track of time. But its a good idea ANYWHERE you may be heading into the woods to tell somebody where you are going and when you should be back. That way, if you are not back by nightfall they can contact the proper folks to start looking for you.
   First thing you need to do is STAY CALM and DO NOT PANIC....
   If I was stuck on the trails (or out in the woods anywhere for that matter) in bad winter weather, I would consider hunkering down for the night, unless I was sure I was close to a town or well travelled road. And I will tell you why- Hypothermia. When your body's core temperature drops below 98.6 degrees it can kill you. In fact hypothermia is one of the biggest problems people face when they get lost in the woods.
  This is where the emergency kit I always take with me would come in handy. I would find a good spot to set up for the night and immediately start a SAFE and controlled campfire to help keep warm. I would also be breaking out the space blankets and plastic liner. If I could, I would gather brush or other items to put down under whatever I was sit or lie upon to insulate me some from the cold ground. Mr. Murphy being what he is, chances are any place you break down in the dead of winter you will not have cell phone reception after all.
 The main thing you need to do is KEEP WARM in such a situation and avoid hypothermia. Exercise can help with this, but you do not want to get so hot and sweaty that the sweat later freezes and cools you down more!
If your clothes are wet, get out of them and put on something dry- even if it is a poncho or a 55 gallon drum liner. Look around and gather equipment to build a lean to to help keep yourself out of the wind. Also try and construct what old timers called a "Reflector" which is a simple wall to put behind your fire to get more heat aimed at YOU! Use it to dry your clothing too. Hunker down for the night but make sure your body does not succumb to the cold and damp. Make sure your fire does not go out. Get as much rest as you can. Hopefully by morning a rescue team will be out looking for you when people notice you did not show up for the night.
 Unfortunately if you are a lonely old bachelor who lives by yourself, that might not happen, so be prepared the next day to decide whether you will be better off by staying hunkered down or by moving out and getting back to civilization. It really is not safe to try and travel in the woods at night. One misstep could lead to a broken ankle, leg or neck. But in the daytime it improves your chances of SAFE mobility. 
 I hope you never have to deal with a situation like that....But it never hurts to be prepared.  In the meantime I would suggest you look into buying a good book on how to survive and get out of the woods safely. There are many of them out there right now and a little knowledge about how to endure such things goes a long way to providing you peace of mind so that if disaster ever does strike, you are ready, willing and able to deal with it!
  

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Plan your HMT getaway today!


Hey folks,
  It's your old pal Big Jim here coming at you from the heart of the hills and hollers of wild, wooly and wonderful WV!
 When you have been around the trails system as long as I have, sometimes you sort of take it for granted what planning a trip to HMT country  is like.
Here lately we have been getting a LOT of queries from folks and I have been doling out the same advice...It dawned on me last night I probably just need to do a whole new McBlog on this for folks who have never been here before so they can know what to expect.
First of all, if you are interested in riding the trails, you need to go to the home page and pick out which trails interest you the most. We have over 600 miles of trails at this point. Some are connected together. And while they all have a mix of easy, moderate and extreme trails, they also are all different and unique in many ways.
Some trails are appealing to folks like me- the laid back scenic rider who enjoys nature, likes to stop and see the sights and so forth. In other words, Bear Wallow is made for me...as is Pinnacle Creek!
 On the other hand, you have my nephew, who likes to ride a dirbtike like a professional Daredevil. Obviously he is a Rockhouse man.
 That is something else to consider too. IE what are you going to ride.
Some people -especialy those from places from other than WV - do not have an ATV I hear. At one time there were a LOT of ATV rental places around southern WV. Not so many these days. If you need a rental you might have to plan your ride around a vendor who offers rentals in that area.
 I sort of figure Ivy Branch will catch on with people who want to come and experience HMT and who have a full size Jeep or Blazer or Bronco, but might not own a dirtbike, ute or quad.
 Do not get me wrong. I wish there were more rentals available in the region myself. But for some reason many people in the rental end of the business decided to put their money in something else. I used to date a nice lady who had been in the sales and repairs of ATVs for a living. She pointed out that many local sales and repair shops could get another income stream from rentals as the used machines on their lots that were just sitting there collecting dust could be rented out and if worse comes to worse- damages- they allready had repair men and mechanics being paid by the hour on the premesis.
 So step one would be going to www.trailsheaven.com and picking out a trail you want to ride. Step two would be booking your lodging. Warning- HMT has grown far faster and far more popular than anybody expected. So you may need to make your accomodations WELL IN ADVANCe.
 One year at Bearwallow I had a guy who was travelling through and decided to bring his quad with him and ride that weekend....We spent hours on the phone finding him a hotel room!
After you have picked out your accomodations and booked them, everything else will just fall in line.
 Depending on what season you are coming, you might want to check the local weather before you leave. In this day and age of computer weather its as simple as typing the zip  code of the place you are staying into the Yahooo Weather search engine. For example, 25601 -which is Logan- lets you find out the five day forecast.
 If you want to get your permits ahead of time you can do that online at our home page - www.trailsheaven.com ...or you can get them when you get here- many local businesses and even lodging places have them for sale...or you can pick them up at the trailhead itself!
   Please take note- Many of our trails are in VERY RURAL areas. Depending on where you are at your cell phones and other electronic gizmos might not work too well. That is why I usually take a compass with me when I ride.
 Bring layered clothing if riding in the summer or spring. Also bring plenty of water. If you are 30 miles from a vending machine on a hot and sweaty day, you will thank me for that later.
 I like to bring an emergency survival kit with me too when I ride. Bandages and first aid stuff, a folding knife to cut briars on overgrown paths, stuff for if I get lost, etc...
 Remember- you do not want Survivalman Les Stroud or Cody Lunden the barefooted guy on Dual Survival to be making fun of you some day on a hit cable tee vee show.
   From that point on, if you have questions you can generally get really good answers at the Trailriders Community Forum -www.atvrides.ning.com ...There are fellow riders there and there are also vendors there who are knowledgeable about anything you might want to know. Remember these are the folks who have come here or live here and ride and ride and ride every chance they get. They are more than ready, willing and able to help you out. Want to know the best restaurants in an area? They got you covered! Want to know about campgrounds, lodges, hotels, motels? They can give you the lowdown before your showdown! New friends online waiting to meet you there!
   Also looking at the pictures will help you get psyched for your trip!
   YOu can also look at old blogs here to find out more about what to expect and so forth.
And do not forget- bring your camera to document your trip and share your pics with everybody. And bring plenty of cash so you can pick up some cool mementos and souvinirs of your trip to HMT country!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Our favorite tourism destination is becoming everybody else's too!


 Hey folks, Big Jim here, coming to you from the heart of Hatfield-McCoy Country....
It's just a few days away from Christmas that traditional time in the mountains when families gather together to celebrate the holidays with gift givin', feastin' trail-ridin' ,  deer huntin' and other traditional activties.
  Many folks like to ride the trails in the dead of winter. I got to admit I did not understand the appeal to that...Until I did it myself some years back and found ridin' in the snow is FUN!
 If you think the mountains of southern West Virginia are beautiful in the fall or spring or summer, you ain't seen nothin' till they are blanketed with snow!
 I remember my first snow ride, I was afraid of it being a cold, wet nasty experience...Instead I found fun. I dressed in layers which kept me warm and the scenery just blew me away! Best of all for a portly Santa-sized fellow like me, I was able to ride all day without having to wipe pesky sweat out of my eyes! LOL...
 The success of the Hatfield-McCoy Trials has to be experienced to be understood. I have seen towns that were once almost ghost towns, mere shadows of their former glory, come back to life and be rivived to thrive thanks to you, our visitors and riders.
 I have seen people come to visit Devil Anse's cemetery, the scene of the Matewan Massacre and even less known historical spots like BLair Mountain.
 In short, I have seen my beloved mountain home become a tourism destination....
I do not know why this lifts my spirits so...
It is always nice when others love what you love too.
I just know I never fail to get a kick out of it when a television show, newspaper, magazine or radio program mentions the Trails and our mountains for either heritage or adventure tourism...
Well, now, I am starting to see interest in my area from folks with more interests than just muddin' or the feud enthusiasts...That is right. The coalfields where Devil Anse Hatfield and Ran'll McCoy and the boys once fought and feuded have become a tourism draw for folks that just love to see natural beauty as well as the other things....

 Hopper, a Boston-based travel promition published a really cool travel article on neighboring Pikeville kentucky that featured the  World Famous Hatfield McCoy Trails as a great place to visit while in the area. The article also has some cool reviews of the trails from local bloggers.
 The peice by Jessica Wei notes that the Pikeville region and neighboring areas are a wonderful place where natural beauty and history combine to give visitors a different look at a long-neglected area of Americana. The feature prominently notes that history and rugged terrain comes to life on the Hatfield-McCoy trails.
 The author writes = "What was once a sprawling setting for a notorious falling out, bloodshed, tears, revenge and burials between the family clans of “Devil Anse” Hatfield and Randle McCoy at the end of the Civil War, the Hatfield-McCoy Trails is now a sweet place to ride ATVs, dirtbikes and UTVs. Snaking through several counties and six trail systems of varying terrain type, riders can get a challenging but scenic excursion through rugged mountains and stunning vistas of old coal country. For a real experience through the 600 miles of off-road trails, grab a bike or hit any of the ATV rental places in the area and kick up some dirt. "
The peice also features the Red River Gorge Zipline as well as the Mountain cut- thru in Pike County and the Breaks State Park in Virginia...
To see the full piece check out their web page....

 Here’s the link: http://hopperblog.com/small-town-spotlight-pikeville-kentucky/

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The 29th Team Harescramble Championship of the World is coming this weekend!




The 29th Team Harescramble Championship of the World is coming this weekend!

The 29th Team Harescramble Championship of the World will take place Saturday & Sunday November 9th & 10th 2013 at the Action Sports Moto Park 10700 Salem Rd in Athens, Ohio. Come and see what fun four to five hundred riders have every year. This year the World Famous Hatfield-McCoy Trails join the list of sponsors for this fun event.
Known as the most fun on wheels the Team Harescramble Championship of the World began in 1984 and has grown to be the largest event of its kind and one of Ohio's largest harescramble events as 200 teams normally compete throughout the weekend.
Over the years participating riders have included former National Enduro Champions Jeff Russell and Terry Cunningham, GNCC Champions Scott Plessinger and Scott Summers, along with Rob Jenks, Charlie Mullins, Cory Buttric, and many others. It is a favorite among the mini, amateur and ATV riders as well.
The 5 mile course combines fun and easy open woods along with Grand Prix and motocross sections with no whoops or double jumps. It is designed to be fun for riders of all skill levels. It has great dirt, a great deal of elevation changes, but still no radical hills. It's a fantastic place to watch and even more fun to ride. There is plenty of flat parking for RV's and campers and overnight camping Saturday night is free. Admission is only $10.00.
All two wheeled classes will compete on Saturday and all ATV classes will compete on Sunday. For a complete list of classes, starting times, rules, sponsors, directions, and other information, navigate through our website at www.ActionSportsRacing.com.

THERE IS NO MEMBERSHIP REQUIRED TO RACE IN THIS EVENT!
Family Fun!
Father and Son Mini Classes:
The mini father and son cycle class was created at the parents' request. This class will run separately and take place on the easiest course possible so all riders of any skill level can complete the course. Kids can compete on any size mini bike. The parents can compete on any full size motorcycle as well. ALL competitors that race in this father and son class must realize that this is a fun event and there will be adults on full size motorcycles on the track at the same time as their kids on mini bikes. Therefore extreme caution and courtesy must be used at all times. We have held the father and son mini cycle race for years with great success.
Action Sports Promotions Inc. was established by Drew Wolfe in 1979 to promote amateur motocross events in Southern Ohio.Action Sports created a variety of original events including the world’s first indoor Jet Ski race which took place in 1991in Columbus, Ohio, the Team Harescramble Championship of the World, now in it’s 29th year, and the only AMA Professional Motorcycle Hillclimb ever conducted at night. Action Sports also conducted the first ever FMX freestyle motorcycle jumping contest which took place during intermission at the 1987 Columbus arenacross, Mad Mike Jones was the winner.
For more information contact  (740) 594-MOTO (6686)
MOBILE: (740) 591-RACE (7223)
 Dw@ActionSportsRacing.com

Monday, September 30, 2013

OCTOBER IS TRAILFEST!!!!


 HATFIELD-MCCOY NATIONAL TRAILFEST Returns!!!!


 Autumn is hear and that time so many trailriders revere!
 The return of the annual Hatfield-McCoy Trailfest, when the tiny town of Gilbert becomes THE ATV/UTV/Dirtbike capital of the known galaxy! If this year is like every other, that means well over a thousand hard core, extreme riders will be returning to partake in a host of fun and activities as well as the chance to win all sorts of cool prizes, enter outragious events and to see what some of the manufacturers will be ramping up to stock store shelves and displays at your favorite shops.
 This year's Trailfest will be held in Gilbert from October 10 through 14.
Every trailfest brings a mix of newcomers wanting to test the waters of HMT as well as experienced riders who keep coming back for more fun and adventure.This year's TrailFest offers more of the fun and adventure you will be looking for!
Hatfield-McCoy's National TrailFest is not just a quad or dirtbike event...TrailFest is one of the premier ATV, UTV and Dirtbike riding events across the country.  TrailFest offers some of the very best trail riding in the world, with direct access to our Rockhouse Trail from the host site location the Harless Center at the Town of Gilbert.  Plus, Trailfest has tons of daily and nightly entertainment to spectate for as well as participate in including but not limited to;
• Poker run and dice run
• Costume parade
• Casino games & auction
• Live music and D.J.
• Dirt bike stunt shows
• Drag strip
• Mud pit
• Kids mini motocross track
• Fireworks display
• Factory demo rides of Upcoming Product Releases
• New activities for children throughout the event!
 Most TrailFest packages also include catered meals, t-shirt, and raffles for over $2000 in cash and prizes!  This year, TrailFest will feature a chance for participants be on the super-popular Dirt Trax television program which airs nationwide on the Outdoor Channel.
 On-site and off-site camping is available and there are many other local accommodations such as cabins, hotels, rental homes and apartments. Lodging does fill up fast, so book your reservations early for TrailFest, 2013.
 New this year is a different kind of event- the first annual 'Muddy Trail 5k Run' at TrailFest. The Muddy 5k Run is open to all who are interested for an additional fee to participate (all proceeds from the event go to the Larry Joe Harless Community Center. The Muddy 5K Begins at 7 a.m. on Saturday, October 12, 2013 at the Harless Center!
Register Now for the Early Bird Special  by October 7th and receive one-half off registration costs.  (Entries must be postmarked by October 7th)....Also, CORPORATE RATE:  Sponsor a team up to 12 members for only $500!

 Hatfield-McCoy Trail  Permits Will also be available on-site.  
 See You There!!!!!
Contact us by email at info@trailsheaven.com or phone at 1-800-592-2217.
http://www.trailsheaven.com/National-Trail-Fest/Home.aspx

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

So.....where do hillbillies come from...


 The Origins of the  Hillbilly Stereotype
 Maybe you have heard this joke- it is typical. In fact, one might say, sterotypical...
joke--A hillbilly went hunting one day in West Virginia and bagged three ducks. He put them in the bed of his pickup
truck and was about to drive home where he was confronted by an ornery game warden who didn’t like hillbillies.The game
warden ordered to the hillbilly to show his hunting license, and the hillbilly pulled out a valid West Virginia hunting
license. The game warden looked at the license, then reached over and picked up one of the ducks, sniffed its butt, and
said, “This duck ain’t from West Virginia . This is a Kentucky duck. You got a Kentuckey huntin’ license, boy?” The
hillbilly reached into his wallet and produced a Kentucky hunting license.
The game warden looked at it, then reached over and grabbed the second duck, sniffed its butt, and said, “This ain’t no
Kentucky duck. This duck’s from Tennessee. You got an Tennessee license?”
The hillbilly reached into his wallet and produced an Tennessee license. The warden then reached over and picked up the
third duck, sniffed its butt, and said This ain’t no Tennessee duck. This here duck’s from Virginia. . You got a
Virginia. huntin’ license?”
Again the hillbilly reached into his wallet and brought out a Virginia. hunting license. The game warden was extremely
frustrated at this point, and he yelled at the hillbilly “Just where the hell are you from?
“The hillbilly turned around, bent over, dropped his pants, and said “You tell me, you’re the expert!!”

 I guess the whole world loves a hillbilly joke... After all, the stereotype is universal now.
 I got to thinking about this topic again in the wake of a current "reality" show which is pretty far from reality. One
of the people on the show is a school teacher from my home town in Kentucky. Lemme tell you- Big Jim Charles never
expected to see this guy acting like that in public. And acting is what it is. It's all an act. Which is sad, because I
know some of the people initially involved with the show and I was very dissapointed to see what turned out. Instead of
showing these folks for how they really are - one is an extremely politically correct liberal school teacher- they are
sort of living down to the stereotypes.
  Probably the most famed stereotypical hillbillies are the television characters known as The Beverly Hillbillies. A
proud but taciturn father figure, shabbily clad in a floppy hat, a stern old grandmother, a beautiful but naive daughter
and a dimwitted youngster strong as an ox and half as smart....
 But just where did the Hillbilly Stereotype come from?
I am often asked that. Good thing for me,  I am a history buff and I know the answer!
Years ago, I went to a meeting where an educator and historian pointed out that the mythical Hillbilly never really
existed until he and his homespun family were invented whole cloth by an author back in the late 1800s.
 Stop and think about this for a second. In the late 1800s there was no difference between the people in backwoods WV, Ky
and Tennessee than there was in the people who lived in upstate New York or rural Illinois.
 Just as today, there really is not much difference between the people of New York, Illinois and WV and Ky...We watch the
same tv shows, we listen to the same music and we wear clothing made by the same manufacturers.
 It has pretty much always been that way...
 Despite the deluded fantasies of a writer named Mary Murfree who desperately wanted to be seen as a "regionalist" to the
point where she invented an entire stereotype! These days, she is pretty much forgotten. But in the 19th century she was a fiction superstar. Back in the post-Civil War era Mary Murfree was taken with writers like Bret Hart who were known as "regionalists." She wanted to become one as well. ...
 Many regionalists overdid it when writing character dialogue in 'vernacular' IE having them speak in slang. Even later authors like Zane Grey can often be hard going for modern readers due to vernacular.
 Mary Murfree decided to go overboard with not only vernacular, but to hold up the character of rural Appalachians for ridicule with the stereotype of the hillbilly which she invented.  Unfortunately for us, the publishers of that era THOUGHT she knew what she was talking about -she was from Tennessee right? ...However it was a
college town she hailed from. Her books became super popular (they are impossible to read today because they are written in slang) and
when the Hatfield-McCoy Feud was taking place, the initial stories were accurate...Until New York editors told the
writers "add more local color" - and demanded they make the participants like the figures in Murfree and other novelists
fiction. So Anderson Hatfield, local businessman and respected community leader became Devil Anse, the Terror of the Tug River valley.
 Rumour has it that the Clampett characters on the Beverly Hillbillies were based on characters from Murfree's novels.
Often she would play up the supposed differences between her rustic barbarians and 'modern, civilized folk." Ironically
as has been stated there was no difference between people in backwoods Tennessee, Kentucky or West Virginia and upstate
New York or Illinois at the time her books were catching on with the public. SOme of Murfree's imitators were just as
popular. Problem is, nobody realized these stereotypes were not exactly accurate. People in rural Tennessee, or other
Appalachian areas were hardly going to pay money to sit down and read an insult of themselves. People from urban area
snatched these potboilers up as fast as they came off the presses. They really wanted to beleive rural America was some
sort of "land that time forgot" and no doubt they felt smug and superior to the dimwitted backwoods folks portrayed so
innacurately in them.
  This is nothing new, by the way. Julius Ceasar did the same thing in his own era, when he wrote his memoirs of the "Conquest of Gaul." Ceasar made fun of the Barbarian Celts in Gaul and the Germans. He played up their primitive lifestyle, their giant frames and so forth. The contrasts of coarse, made the Romans look good in comparison .Thing is, within a few years of the conquest of Gaul, most of Rome's trade goods were actually MADE IN GAUL by the "Barbarian" Celts themselves. Who happened to be better iron workers and smiths than the Romans ever were....  Ceasar made the Celts in Britain look brutal for their habit of sacrificing condemned criminals to Taranis the God of Thunder. Thing is, in those days, Human Sacrafice was just the death penalty for a condemned criminal. Ancient Britons did not have the resources to keep their own versions of the Manson family in jail forever.  At the same time Ceasar was giving the Celts crap for burning  predatory criminals and war criminals to death in the Wicker Man, his own Romans were killing people by the thousands in the Arenas back in Rome during gladiatorial games, and even making some animal species extinct!
 Those who knew the truth laughed at Ceasar's claims of the Celts and Germans being "Barbarians" and noted the Romans were in fact far worse.  Unrealistic stereotypes are nothing new...
 Lets take a look a a real-life 'hillbilly" from that era. John C. Mayo. He worked as a river barge pilot, was prone to
gambling and playing cards. He also worked in a country store for some time and was considered a bit of a no-account.
Sounds about like Murfree's characters, right?
 Not so fast.
 Mayo was college educated. In fact, he was a geologist. One day, when reading newspapers about the potential future of
Coal, Mayo decided to go out and do some surverying in the area of Kentucky known as Johnson county. He realized East
Kentucky and Southern WV were rich with coal seams. So Mayo did what he often did- he gambled.
He begged and borrowed as much money as he could. It was not much...So he had an idea...He aproached hardscrabble farmers
and sharecroppers and offered to "buy their mineral rights" for a few dollars. The farmers thought he was crazy. Cash for
the minerals under their land, but not the land itself? They were happy to sign on the dotted line.....
 But it was John C. Mayo who laughed all the way to the bank, when his ownership of the coal beneath the land paid off
big time. Mayo became one of the wealthiest people of the so-called Gilded Age. He routinely inveted other wealthy robber
barons from up North to visit Johnson County and stay at his large and luxurious home over the holidays. Their revelries
were legendary. That's a real life hillbilly for you.
 Look at our own Devil Anse Hatfield. Most everybody knows about the feud. Many know about Anse's Civil War adventures.
How many know that he was  a respected businessman? How many know he was a school administrator? The image of Devil Anse
we have today was filtered through the moonshine colored glasses of Mary Murfree and other writers who wrote hillbilly
novels based on Murfree's malarky, not reality.

For more about how Murfree and other's hillbilly fiction created these stereotypes check out this link. -
http://xroads.virginia.edu/.../appalachia/murfree.html