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Hatfields and McCoys join forces to fight opposition

Karissa Blackburn kblackburn@civitasmedia.com

August 20, 2014

Members of the local Hatfield and McCoy clans are crossing enemy lines and shaking hands as they have agreed to join their forces in a fight that is much greater than anything they have experienced up to this point: fighting for their birth right.


According to a social media campaign named “Petition for Families to Keep their Hatfield & McCoy Name,” the two families are facing legal opposition from companies based in other states, Missouri is mentioned in particular, that will take away the right of the families to their names and heritage for commercial use.


Among many other things, this means that Hatfield and McCoy Moonshine will be no more if the battle is lost.


In a video created to help draw attention to the issue, Hatfield family Patriarch and star of the show Hatfield and McCoy: White Lightning, Mark Hatfield says he and his family are ready for a fight.


“Maybe your grandmother left you a Hatfield or McCoy recipe,” Hatfield said. “Well, you’ll never be able to use it. They’re trying to tie up all the food, all the clothes… an out of state company, and it just ain’t right.”


The Hatfield family lawyer, Gregory Chiartas, says he is doing everything in his power to help the Hatfield and McCoy clans keep the legal rights to their names.


“My clients are in a battle against a Missouri corporation who filed 42 spate trademark applications bearing the Hatfield & McCoy names,” Chiartas said. “They are trying to stop my clients, who own Hatfield & McCoy Moonshine in Gilbert, from conducting business even though we are being distributed by two of the largest spirit distribution companies in the US: Southern Wine and Spirits and Republic National Distribution Company. We are already distributing and selling our moonshine in W.Va., Va., Pa., Ky. and soon N.C. We have filed opposing trademarks knowing that this is the only way we would have standing to oppose them in the United States Patent and Trademark Office.”


Chiartas says if this does not work, this Missouri-based company will own the names Hatfield and McCoy for all intents and purposes.


“They have filed for every type of merchandise you can think of: from jelly and jams to cakes, sauces, biscuits, metal key chains even gun powder just to name a few,” Chiartas said. “This is a quiet battle going on for the very existence of the Hatfield and McCoy names, which is one of the great resources of W.Va. Va. and Ky.. It’s bad enough when out of state corporations own most of our natural resources. They own coal, gas and they own the timber. Now they want to own our history and our names so they can profit from it.”


Mark Hatfield, along with the rest of the Hatfield and McCoy clans want to see support from southern W.Va. because, as Mark puts it, this is not just a “Hatfield and McCoy” issue


“If you can’t use your name, what the hell is left in West Virginia,” Hatfield continued in his video. “That’s all we’re worried about. We want our named left alone. Anybody can use it whether you’re a Hatfield, McCoy, Browning, Cline, Justice… anybody can use the Hatfield and McCoy name. It’s been like that for 140 years and we want to keep it like that.”


The social media campaign also asks for members of the Hatfield and McCoy families to add pictures of their heritage along with one of the hashtags #TeamHatfield or #TeamMcCoy.


To show your support for the Hatfield and McCoy heritage and history of the southern coalfields, visit and “like” the Facebook page Petition for Families to Keep their Hatfield & McCoy Name. There supporters can interact with one another and make a strong stand against outside and opposing forces.


The page currently has almost 600 likes, and Mark Hatfield’s video has been shared nearly 1,000 times.