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Matewan, West Virginia
Matewan, West Virginia.
Matewan, West Virginia.
Location of Matewan in Mingo County, West Virginia.
Location of Matewan in Mingo County, West Virginia.
Coordinates: 37°37′23″N 82°9′59″W / 37.62306°N 82.16639°W / 37.62306; -82.16639Coordinates: 37°37′23″N 82°9′59″W / 37.62306°N 82.16639°W / 37.62306; -82.16639
Country United States
State West Virginia
County Mingo
 • Total 0.55 sq mi (1.43 km2)
 • Land 0.55 sq mi (1.43 km2)
 • Water 0.00 sq mi (0.00 km2)
705 ft (215 m)
 • Total 499
 • Estimate 
 • Density 766.73/sq mi (296.18/km2)
Time zone UTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 304
FIPS code 54-52324
GNIS feature ID 1542862

Matewan is a town in Mingo County, West Virginia, United States at the confluence of the Tug Fork River and Mate Creek. The population was 499 at the 2010 census. The Norfolk Southern Railway's Pocahontas District passes through the town.


Matewan is located at 37°37′23″N 82°9′59″W / 37.62306°N 82.16639°W / 37.62306; -82.16639 (37.623034, -82.166416).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 0.56 square miles (1.45 km2), all of it land.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1910 588
1920 851 44.7%
1930 932 9.5%
1940 905 −2.9%
1950 989 9.3%
1960 896 −9.4%
1970 651 −27.3%
1980 822 26.3%
1990 619 −24.7%
2000 498 −19.5%
2010 499 0.2%
2019 (est.) 424 −15.0%
U.S. Decennial Census
Matewan West Virginia aerial view
Aerial view of Matewan

2010 census

At the 2010 census there were 499 people, 261 households, and 117 families living in the town. The population density was 891.1 inhabitants per square mile (344.1/km2). There were 301 housing units at an average density of 537.5 per square mile (207.5/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 91.6% White, 6.4% African American, 0.2% Native American, and 1.8% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.6%.

Of the 261 households 19.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 31.4% were married couples living together, 10.3% had a female householder with no husband present, 3.1% had a male householder with no wife present, and 55.2% were non-families. 52.5% of households were one person and 15.7% were one person aged 65 or older. The average household size was 1.91 and the average family size was 2.85.

The median age in the town was 45.4 years. 17.2% of residents were under the age of 18; 5.2% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 27.2% were from 25 to 44; 32.8% were from 45 to 64; and 17.4% were 65 or older. The gender makeup of the town was 42.5% male and 57.5% female.

History and culture

Matewan West Virginia floodwall
A section of the floodwall along the Tug Fork in Matewan, West Virginia, constructed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, depicts the Hatfield-McCoy feud.

The town was named after Matteawan (now called Beacon), a town in Dutchess County, Upstate New York. Matteawan was the home town of Erskine Hazard, a civil engineer from the Norfolk and Western Railway who laid out the town in 1890 and drew up the first map of the new community. Local residents, however, changed the spelling and pronunciation.

Attempts to unionize by coal miners in 1920 led to the Battle of Matewan between miners and Baldwin–Felts detectives, which was the inspiration for the 1987 movie Matewan. The town's history is on display at the town's Web site, which has a small museum.


Because of its rich history (Hatfield–McCoy feud and Matewan Massacre), the center of the town was designated the Matewan Historic District, a National Historic Landmark. Interesting sights and tours can be had while visiting the town.

The Hatfield–McCoy Trails opened a trail head in Matewan. Trail Riders can now easily access the trail system while staying in town.

Notable people

  • Sam Church, labor union leader
  • John Hendricks, founder and former chairman of Discovery Communications; founder of CuriosityStream
  • Sid Hatfield, police chief, famous for the Matewan Massacre
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