Dils Cemetery is our stop in this installment of the Hatfield McCoy GeoTrail Adventure.
McCoy Gravesite Sign
See our white van way down there?
I had read about the uphill, mountainous hikes to the graves; I was a bit concerned.
Rightfully so, as it turns out. Good gracious—turns out all these mountain folks are buried, of all places, on mountains. Imagine that.
Honestly, I’ve never seen anything like it. In Alabama, we have nice, flat cemeteries. Drive up. Get out of your car. Stroll to grave. Easy. No fitness required.
Not so in Eastern Kentucky and West Virginia. Dils Cemetery was our first introduction to vertical burials. This uphill climb graveyard visit took us to the graves of Randal and Sarah McCoy, their daughter Roseanna of the Johnse romance fame, and various McCoy and Hatfield graves.
Also of interest is that Dils Cemetery is the first integrated cemetery in Eastern Kentucky. Seems Colonel John Dils wasn’t a big fan of slavery, so he employed freed slaves and later provided burial spaces for them and their descendents.
Freed Slaves’ Graves
We walked about the graveyard, found the cache, and steeply descended the stairs to our car.
On a side note, when we arrived and got out of the car, a fireman and his daughter stopped us because we are from Alabama—I guess the Alabama plates and the Back-to-Back Championship magnet on the car tipped them off. His daughter wants to play softball at The University of Alabama, so we told them that would be a great choice. Roll Tide!
He also said that before the documentary came on TV, hardly anybody ever went “to that old man’s grave.” Now he said there are days he sees as many as 70 go see him in a day.
He helped an old woman go up there one day and spent “the most interesting three hours of my life with her.” She told him that Perry Cline could not have been involved as the lawyer because he was only 13 years old at the time. She also told him that Randal McCoy died after getting drunk and falling into a burning fire in the fireplace of a house that then burned down.
We heard various stories, and who knows what is fact or fiction at this point. All I know is that the whole deal is fascinating.
Sarah Syck’s Grave—what an interesting name.
Ready to go yet?
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