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Coy Fitzpatrick
Coy Fitzpatrick, the Monterville Mountain Man. 1999 photograph by Joe Arbogast

One With Nature

Mountain Man Coy Fitzpatrick

By Jim Wilson

Coy Fitzpatrick turned 90 on July 16, 1999. Equal parts philosopher, handyman, naturalist, and historian, Coy lives by himself, far from the nearest paved road or modern convenience. He hunts, gathers, and prepares his own meals, sleeps under the stars, and has known a long life and a peace of mind few men ever experience.

When asked to what he attributes his longevity, Coy replies after a lengthy pause, "Doing as I please, when I please. Sleeping outside every night and starting the next day with a hot toddy. I've never used tobacco except for an occasional ceremonial pipe passed amongst friends in my lodge."

Since the mid-1980's, Coy Fitzpatrick has been known throughout the state as the "Monterville Mountain Man," a reflection of his unique lifestyle, and the result of the considerable public attention he has received for it over the years. Writer Tom Cater of the Elkins Inter-Mountain newspaper dubbed Coy, who lives near the Elk River in Monterville in the southern portion of Randolph County, the Monterville Mountain Man in a feature article in 1986.

You can read the rest of this article in the Summer 2000 issue of Goldenseal, available in bookstores, libraries or direct from Goldenseal.