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Shootout in Matewan, West Virginia, May 19, 1920

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Published on Nov 24, 2010

It was the Stone Mountain Coal Corp. that evicted the coal miners from the coal camp houses at Matewan. Here are a few of those very homes that have survived. http://www.coalcampusa.com/sowv/willi...

The film was made in West Virginia with the town of Thurmond standing in for Matewan. Other scenes were filmed along the New River Gorge National River. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thurmond...

(Movie quote) Sid Hatfield: I've met Mr. Felts [the owner of the Baldwin-Felts agency]. I wouldn't pee on him if his heart was on fire.

A contingent of the Baldwin-Felts Detective Agency arrived on the no. 29 morning train with orders to evict families that had been living at the Stone Mountain Coal Camp on the outskirts of town. The detectives carried out several evictions then dined at the Urias Hotel before walking to the depot to catch the five o'clock train back to Bluefield, West Virginia. Matewan Chief of Police Sid Hatfield had decided that enough was enough, and intervened on behalf of the evicted families. Hatfield, a Tug River Valley native, was an adamant supporter of the miners forming the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA). Police chief Hatfield intercepted the detectives before they reached the train depot and claimed to have arrest warrants for the detectives from the Mingo County sheriff. Detective Albert Felts then produced his own warrant for the arrest of Sid Hatfield (likely to have been obtained in case the police chief interferred with their lawful duites as could be expected). Upon inspecting it Matewan mayor Cabell Testerman said it was fraudulent. Unbeknownst to the detectives, they had been surrounded by hidding armed miners, who were watching intently. Who actually fired the first shot can not be confirmed. Seven detectives -- including Felts -- died along with four townspeople, including Mayor Testerman whose widow later married Sid Hatfield. (There is speculation from historians that Sid Hatfield himself killed Mayor Testerman in the confusion...Sid married the mayor's widow two weeks after the shooting.)

This is a scene from the movie Matewan (1987) which is online:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5pXCZq...

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The New York Times, March 22, 1921
http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract...
JURY ACQUITS 16 OF COAL STRIKE MURDER; Finds Sid Hatfield and Others Innocent of Killing Detective in West Virginia.MEN GO BACK TO MATEWAN But Are Still Under Indictment for Other Murders--County Prosecutor Resigns.
WILLIAMSON, W. Va., March 21.-- Police Chief Sid Hatfield and fifteen other men of Matewan were found not guilty today of connection with the death of Albert C. Felts, a private detective.

The New York Times, August 7, 1921
http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract...
WELCH, W. Va., Aug. 6.--Self-defense is the claim of C.E. Lively, BaldwinFelts detective, held under bond in connection with the shooting and killing of Sid Hatfield and Ed Chambers, Mingo.

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Two of the men killed in Matewan that day were the brothers of agency owner, Thomas Felts. In retaliation, Felts had the Matewan police chief, Sid Hatfield, killed as the sheriff and his deputy were being tried in Welch, WV. As they walked up the steps to the courthouse suddenly appeared the detectives who waited in ambush at the top. Sid and his deputy were filled full of bullets. Afterwards, detective Hugh Lucas emptied a gun into the courthouse wall as though Hatfield had shot at them and then placed the gun in Sid's hand after detective Charley Lively had shot him behind the ear to make sure he was dead.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7rnlwt... (2 minutes)

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Police chief Sid Hatfield and his friend and deputy, Fred Burgraff, smelled trouble and they met the Baldwin-Felts men at the train station. Burgraff's son Hawthorne, now eighty-three years old picks up the story.......
http://www.matewan.com/History/battle...

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Testimony on the Matewan Massacre. Testimony of Sid Hatfield.
http://www.as.wvu.edu/wvhistory/docum...

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8/20/08 - This song is about a true story that happened in my hometown of Welch, WV. David Grubb and I wrote the song -- both of us are McDowell County natives. My daughter, Jessi Shumate, helped me sing the song and Nathan Lawson played the banjo. I played all the rest. I hope you enjoy.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NU8gu2... (6:23 minutes)

Pictures taken from the 2008 installment of Terror of the Tug, a play written by about the coal wars of southern West Virginia -- it was the 9th year of it being performed in McDowell County, Playwright Jean Battlo along with the director, music director and the cast are all local people. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rlvSKK... (7:08 minutes)

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