He wanted them put out of the way & would give one hundred dollars to kill them

Posted by Dave Tabler | April 28, 2015

Part 1 of 2 —

The White Caps of Sevier County, TN, were a vigilante group formed in approximately 1892 by citizens who wished to rid Sevier County of individuals (mostly women) whom they deemed lewd or adulterous.

Their modus operandi was to leave the offending party a note signed “White Caps,” occasionally accompanied by hickory switches, warning them to leave town. If this tactic proved ineffective, the group escalated to whippings.

The White Caps were extremely popular between 1892 and 1896 and thus hard to control legally. Local law enforcement turned a blind eye to their doings and even when arrested White Caps would frequently tamper with juries to ensure their acquittal. In this atmosphere of tolerance, the beatings gradually increased in severity.

But then in December of 1896 the White Caps brutally murdered Laura and William Whaley in front of their infant child. The Whaleys were generally considered poor but honest citizens of Sevier County, and their savage deaths turned public opinion against the White Caps. J.C. “Catlett” Tipton and Pleasant “Pleas” Wynn were convicted of the Whaley murders, and hung on July 5, 1899, at Sevierville. Here is Tipton’s confession from his trial transcript:

murder of Bill and Laura Whaley, Sevier County TN“I was born and raised in Sevier county; am about 38 years old. In December 1896 I was living about two miles from Sevierville, but was at that time staying with Ben Bailey, my brother in law, and working in the blacksmith shop with him.

“I know the defendant Bob Catlett and have known him pretty much all my life. On the Saturday evening that the November term of the circuit court adjourned, Bob Catlett came to me and said he wanted to have a talk with me. We went into Fred Emert’s store and upstairs into a back room. He there told me that William Whaley and wife had gone before the grand jury at that term of court and had indicted him and Bob Wade, his brother in law, for shooting into Walter Maples house.

“He said he wanted them put out of the way and would give one hundred dollars to kill them; that he wanted to make an example of them to teach people that they could not swear against him. I told him I did not want to do it and would not do it. This was about all that occurred there, and we went out of the store. Bob Wade was present during this conversation.

“There was a meeting of an Odd Fellows lodge that Saturday night at Pigeon Forge, about eight miles above Sevierville. Wm Wynn, Jesse Atchley and I went to it; leaving Sevierville that evening I went in a buggy with Wm Wynn, I think.

“Some time after the lodge had been in session Bob Catlett and Bob Wade came in. That is the first time I ever knew Catlett or Wade in that lodge and have never seen them there since. It was about fourteen miles from there to where Catlett lived. As we were returning from the lodge that night, I stopped on the road near Henderson’s Island at a turnip patch and got some turnips and distributed them among the crowd. There were several along including Bob Catlett, Bob Wade, Arthur Seaton, Schuyler Atchley, Jesse Atchley and Wm Wynn.

“Wade and Catlett were riding horse back and when ready to leave the turnip patch Bob Catlett suggested to Wade that he take my seat in the buggy, and for me to get on Wade’s horse, as he wanted to talk with me.

“This change was accordingly made and I rode from there to Rambo’s Lane, about three miles, with Bob Catlett. On this trip he again brought up the subject of the Whaleys and renewed his proposition to me to put them out of the way for him. I told him I did not want to do it, but before leaving me near the Rambo Lane, he handed me an envelope and said for me to take it and that it was mine when the Whaleys were put out of the way. I took the package and went on home alone from that point.

“I examined the contents of the envelope and found it consisted of four twenty dollar bills and one twenty dollar gold piece. I kept the money until the next Wednesday evening and then I took it to Yett’s store in Sevierville, and gave it to JR Yett, and told him to put it in his safe for me a short time.

“I let it stay there until Friday following when I got it and gave it back to Bob Catlett, saying to him at the time that I had decided not to do the job and returned his money. Catlett replied that he was glad of it for he could get it done for one half of that amount. It was not long however until Catlett returned to me again and began to beg me to comply with his wishes by putting the Whaleys out of the way.

End of Part 1

Sources: The White-Caps: A History of the Organization in Sevier County, by Ethelred W. Crozier, publ by Bean, Warters & Gaut, Knoxville, 1899

Cummings, William Joseph, “Community, Violence, and the Nature of Change: Whitecapping in Sevier County, Tennessee, During the 1890’s.” Master’s Thesis, University of Tennessee, 1988. http://trace.tennessee.edu/utk_gradthes/8

One Response

  • Norma Boyd says:

    Thank you ….
    Not a beautiful story yet important to remember lest we allow these events to continue and grow in numbers.

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This ends a very favorable April with just about enough rain

Posted by Dave Tabler | April 27, 2015

Fulton Caldwell opened his personal diary with details of a trip from Ohio to Iowa in December 1859. His careful list of all expenses clues the reader in right away to a man concerned with the details. “Fulton Caldwell, now a prosperous farmer and a leading citizen, was born on the Caldwell homestead in 1833,” says his biography in the “History of Noble County [Ohio]” from 1887. “He was brought up a farmer, and has followed that occupation principally.”

Caldwell must have gotten waylaid by the business of living, however, since his next diary entry doesn’t turn up till 1873. The ‘History of Noble County’ profile gives a hint: “He was engaged in mercantile business four or five years, and for about two years was a stock-buyer and drover. With these exceptions he has devoted his time and attention to farming, stock-raising and dairying.”

But between January 1873 and December 1910 ‘Fult’ Caldwell managed the impressive feat of producing a daily journal entry. The typed, single-spaced document transcribes to 508 pages.

Caldwell, Noble County, Ohio, ca. 1886-1888View of Caldwell, Noble County, Ohio, ca. 1886-1888. This photograph is part of a collection compiled by Henry Howe while researching the 1889 edition of “Historical Collections of Ohio.”

Caldwell’s entries typically note the weather, farm chores completed or in need of attending, neighbors visited, village births and deaths. He didn’t vary that writing strategy much over the entire 37 years of diary keeping. Here are his diary entries for the last week of April, 1873:

Sunday, 27…Pleasant day – sun shines warm – at home – Mr. and Mrs. Moor here.

Monday, 28…Cloudy morning – quit at noon – rain early all day – Mr. and Mrs. Moor went home.

Tuesday, 29…Cloudy morning – sprinkles rain a little – I went to Gouchenours and Moors. Corden got hurt.

Wednesday, 30… Clear frosty morning – I commence plowing for oats – turn all stock on pasture – good pasture on Glidden farm – Sam Archer commence work today at $13.00 per month – boys haul wood.

MAY

Thursday, 1…Cloudy morning – we made a little garden – and finish sowing oats in field west of barn – rain in afternoon – we commence post holes for ball lot – Worthy McKee here.

…and 37 years later, that same last week of April in 1910:

Wednesday, 27…40 degress – rain during nt – cloudy threatening morning, clears off, pleasant by noon – cloudy again before night though sun sets red – find spring growing day – I am home – assist Ruth cleaning kitchen.

Thursday, 28…75 degrees – cloudy threatening day – sprinkles of rain – I borrow of C.C.C. check, $100.00 and pay same to Hugh Nughart to be accredited Mrs. Dr. Martin, money borrowed one year ago today.

Friday, 29…48 degress – Clouding threatening morning – clears off pleasant warm day – I walked with Marsh Merry to Ruths land west of town, then went on to Wm. Treadways home in hollow on west part of H. Caldwell farm where I have not been for over 50 years – called to see Mrs. D. Gouchenour, Dave Devold, Peter Walters and Mrs. Brock – Ben Davis hoed our sweet corn in garden – planted March 24 and all grew and standing now – also hoes potatoes well up in garden, Irish Cobble variety.

Saturday, 30…60 degrees – Partially cloudy morning and day – Ben Davis and I place logs front of west porch and stick poles and I plant 40 hills lima beans at west side of garden – also first beans – this ends a very favorable April with just about enough rain, though not as pleasant weather on average as March.

MAY

Sunday, 1…60 degrees – Partially cloudy morning – bright breezy warm day, flying clouds – we are home alone resting after weeks house cleaning – George Kean borrowed field glass to go to Mc Thorlas hill for observation.

Caldwell’s second to last entry in the diary tells the reader “I raid part of day working on books – worked steadily, drinking no whisky or other stimulant, took no medicine.” He doesn’t specify whether ‘working on books’ meant the accounting books, or something else.

But it’s quite clear that his diary by the end was meant to be passed on. The diary we now have opens with an “Index of Deceased” which Campbell later added after the original diary was completed, since it references diary entries that apply to each person listed.

And page 6 is titled “Index of Items for Future Reference” which opens with the perfectly expected entry “Page 8, 13 July 1873, Presbyterian Church Dedication” on through “Page 486, 13 Sept. 1910, mention again of Poochville school.” Quite useful for future historians and genealogists. Caldwell’s diary was transcribed in 1986 by the Noble County Historical Society.

 

Source: www.digitalshoebox.org ‘The Digital Shoebox Project, Historical Treasures of Southeastern Ohio’

 

2 Responses

  • Whitney says:

    Hello,
    I grew up in Caldwell, Oh and I cannot figure out where this picture was taken. After showing it to my parents and grandparents, they said it could not be Caldwell, Oh as Caldwell is a very small town and did not have large buildings like the one in the front of the picture or the back left. If it is from Caldwell, Ohio, could you tell me what those buildings are or where they took the picture?

  • Dave Tabler says:

    Whitney, this shot belongs to the Henry Howe Collection in the Ohio Historical Society. This link to the original photo also contains all caption material that the OHS has pertaining to the shot.

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The Scottsboro Boys

Posted by Dave Tabler | April 24, 2015

On March 25, 1931, local authorities in Paint Rock, AL arrested nine black youths on a freight train after receiving word about a fight between blacks and whites on the train. They discovered two white women, Ruby Bates and Victoria Price, dressed in men’s overalls on the same train and subsequently charged the nine young men with rape.

The doctor who examined the girls found proof that they had been having sexual intercourse but no reason to conclude that they had been roughly handled, except for a small bruise on one of them which might well have been caused by riding on gravel. This was not Victoria Price’s version of the story: “There were six to me and three to her….It took three of them to hold me,” she recalled under oath. “One was holding my legs and the other had a knife to my throat while the other one ravished me.”

Four of the “Scottsboro Boys,” Roy and Andy Wright, Eugene Williams, and Heywood Patterson, had grown up in Chattanooga, Tennessee; the Wrights were the sons of Ada Wright, a widow and a domestic servant in Chattanooga. Ozie Powell, Clarence Norris, Olen Montgomery, Charlie Weems, and Willie Roberson came from different towns in Georgia and encountered the others for the first time on the train. Olen Montgomery was completely blind in one eye and could barely see out of the other; Willie Roberson suffered from untreated syphilis and could hardly walk.

Scottsboro Boys with their lawyer in jailPresiding judge Alfred E. Hawkins assigned all seven members of the Scottsboro bar to defend the young men, but all of them found excuses not to involve themselves except for seventy-year-old Milo C. Moody.

In Chattanooga, sixty miles away, members of the local Interdenominational Colored Ministers’ Alliance raised funds to retain Stephen R. Roddy, a white lawyer from Chattanooga. “I was scared before, but it wasn’t nothing to how I felt now,” said defendant Norris as the trials got under way. “I knew if a white woman accused a black man of rape, he was as good as dead.”

On April 9, 1931, after four separate trials conducted over a four-day period before four different all-white juries in the mountain town of Scottsboro, eight of the defendants were found guilty as charged.

Judge Hawkins promptly sentenced them to death. The case of the ninth defendant-thirteen-year-old Roy Wright-ended in a mistrial after a majority of the jury refused to accept the prosecution’s recommendation that he be spared the death penalty because of his extreme youth.

“I was sitting in a chair and one of those girls was testifying,” Wright was quoted as saying in a March 10, 1933 New York Times article. “One of the deputy sheriffs leaned over to me and asked if I was going to turn state’s evidence, and I said no, because I didn’t know anything about this case.

“Then the trial stopped awhile and the deputy sheriff beckoned to me to come out into another room– the room back of the place where the judge was sitting– and I went. They whipped me and it seemed like they were going to kill me. All the time they kept saying, “Now will you tell?” and finally it seemed to me like I couldn’t stand it no more and I said yes.”

Soon after the guilty verdicts, the NAACP and the International Labor Defense came to the defense of the “Scottsboro Boys,” contending the trials were unconstitutional. Three more rounds of trials ensued. Ultimately, charges against four of the defendants were dropped, but by that time they had spent over 6 years in prison on death row without trial.

Alabama’s Governor Graves had planned to pardon all of the defendants before he left office in 1938. However, during the customary pre-pardon interview, Graves was angered by the men’s hostility towards him and refusal to admit their guilt, so he did not issue pardons.

 

sources: http://xroads.virginia.edu/~MA01/White/anthology/scottsboro.html
PBS April 2, 2001: “Scottsboro: An American Tragedy” (http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/scottsboro/)
www.law.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/FTrials/scottsboro/scottsb.htm

One Response

  • Dan A Hayes says:

    I want to set the record straight about how and why the Town of Tallulah Falls came to be. I also want to set the record straight on who made the town what it was when and why. The Tallulah area was first inhabitants were Indians and fur trapping white men. The first white settlers were the Vandivers.and the McCracken Families. From the 1700.s to the eearl800.s at this time it was wild wilderness.
    A man named Rufus Lafayette Moss Sr came to the area in the 1870.s he was a wealthy Athens Ga business entrepreneur. He owned two banks. Two cotton mills. He owned the athens gas light company. The Athens steam engine company. Two lumber mills.one in Athens the other in Tallulah Falls. He was the man who founded the town of Tallulah Falls. He brought the Tallulah Falls railroad to town in 1882. He bought Tallulah Gorge in 1879.he built his summer house on the edge of the gorge he owned. He built the cliff house hotel. It was o. The rim of the gorge.45 acres of land on the rim of Tallulah Gorge. Rufus Lafayette Moss Sr was Commissioned by the state of Georgia legislature to incorporate the town of Tallulah Falls on October 7th 1885.now this is all facts. The Moss house stands today in Tallulah Falls. It the fourth oldest house in Rabun County. Via the Rabun County Historical Society. It’s the oldest house in town. And the largest. This history has not been told and needs to be corrected. Rufus Lafayette Moss Sr. Has earned his place in Georgia History. It is time some one set the record straight.

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A pleasant drink of medicinal value

Posted by Dave Tabler | April 23, 2015

Ahhhh, dandelion wine! The popular name comes from dent de lion, French for “lion’s tooth,” referring to the teeth on the leaves. Wine is made from the heads. Choose dandelions from an open field far from any insecticide spraying. Pick early in the season when the leaves of the plant are still tender. Flowers that have just opened are best.

Photo: Bob Thompson/Flickr

Photo: Bob Thompson/Flickr

To make dandelion wine: “Four good quarts of dandelion blossoms, four pounds of sugar, six oranges, five lemons. Wash dandelion blossoms and place them in an earthenware crock. Pour five quarts of boiling water over them and let stand 36 hours. Then strain through a muslin bag, squeezing out all moisture from dandelions. Put the strained juice in a deep stone crock or jug and add to it the grated rind and juice of the six oranges and five lemons.

Tie a piece of cheese-cloth over the top of jug and stand it in a warm kitchen about one week, until it begins to ferment. Then stand away from stove in an outer kitchen or cooler place, not in the cellar, for three months. At the end of three months put in bottles. This is a clear, amber, almost colorless liquid. A pleasant drink of medicinal value. Aunt Sarah always used this recipe for making dandelion wine, but Mary preferred a recipe in which yeast was used, as the wine could be used a short time after making.”

For dandelion wine made with yeast: “Four quarts of dandelion blossoms. Pour over them four quarts of boiling water; let stand 24 hours, strain and add grated rind and juice of two oranges and two lemons, four pounds of granulated sugar and two tablespoonfuls of home-made yeast. Let stand one week, then strain and fill bottles.”

Sources: “Mary at the Farm and Book of Recipes Compiled During Her Visit Among the “Pennsylvania Germans,” by Edith M. Thomas, 1915.
http://fohn.net/dandelion-pictures/dandelion-wine-recipe.html
http://enature.com/fieldguides

 

dandelion+wine appalachian+culture appalachian+history history+of+appalachia appalachia

2 Responses

  • How enchanting! I just wrote a blog about dendelion wine yesterday!!! How wonderful to find the recipe for it, here, today!!!! You’re the best! <3

  • This makes me wonder what kind of recipe my Gran used for making dandelion wine, as hers had a pretty bad reputation (although her black raspberry wine was beyond divine!).

    We’re hosting a foraging round up called Wild Things, and the featured herb for the month of April is dandelion. We’d love it if you’d submit this recipe. If you’d like to play along, all you have to do is send a link to this page to wildthings.roundup@gmail.com by the end of the month. Thanks!

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The work of the mountain mother

Posted by Dave Tabler | April 22, 2015

The work of the mountain mother is burdensome and she bears more than her share of responsibilities of the household. Her housework includes washing, ironing, cooking, cleaning, sewing, and often spinning and knitting for the family. Handicapped by lack of modern conveniences, her task involves undue hardship.

In most of the homes cooking is done on a small wood stove, with none of the modern conveniences; often the only implements are iron kettles, pots, and ovens which may be used interchangeably on the stove or in the fireplace; the latter is still preferred by many for baking corn bread and sweet potatoes. A scant allowance of fuel is provided from meal to meal. During a rainy spell, or when the father is away or sick, or the children off at school, the mother may be left without fuel, though wood grows at her very door.

McDowell County NC woman with infant, early 1900sWoman holding an infant, early 1900s. McDowell County, NC.

Carrying water, a toilsome journey up and down hill several times a day, usually falls to the lot of mother and children. No one of the families visited had water in the house or on the porch, and only 1 out of 5 within 50 feet of the house. Twenty families carried water over 500 feet and 8 families were from an eighth to a quarter of a mile distant from their springs.

The wash place, consisting of tubs on a bench and a great iron wash pot in which the clothes are boiled, is usually close by the spring. Much straining and lifting and undue fatigue are involved in this outdoor laundry. Sometimes even a washboard is a luxury, substituted by a paddle with which the clothes are pounded clean on a bench or a smooth cut stump.

Much of the family bedding is homemade, the work of the women and girls in their leisure hours, after the crops are laid by or in the evening by the fireside. Besides the time-honored log cabin pattern, their collections of patch-work quilts include such quaint and intricate designs as “Tree of Life,” “Orange Peel,” and “Lady of the White House.” Many a mountain home has its spinning wheel still in use and occasionally one finds an old-fashioned hand loom.

Some homes display a collection of coverlids and blankets, handmade at every step of the process. The wool was grown on the home farm; sheared from the sheep; washed, carded, and spun by the women and girls of the family; dyed, sometimes with homemade madder, indigo and walnut dyes; and woven on the loom into coverlids and blankets. Even the designs are often original or variations of old favorites, like the “Whig Rose,” “Federal City,” and “High Creek’s Delight by Day and Night.”

The other duties of the mother are largely seasonal. From December to August the children are home from school and she has their help. Together they make the garden; help plant the com and peas for winter; gather them when ripe ; pull fodder and dig potatoes ; feed the stock; and perform the usual farm chores of milking, churning, and carrying water. In many homes the mother may be found doing chores which are usually considered a man’s work, unduly prolonging her working hours and exposing herself to more stress and strain than is compatible with her own health or that of the children she is bearing.

McDowell County, NC woman spinning, early 1900sA woman spinning thread, early 1900s. McDowell County, NC.

It is uncommon for help to be hired in the home, except occasionally for a few days during confinements. Moreover, with the exception of sewing machines, household conveniences are totally lacking. Hard-working women complained that the men have planters, drillers, spreaders, and all kinds of “newfangled help,” but that nothing had been done to make women’s work easier.

Practically all the mothers visited, besides their housework and chores, had helped in the fields more or less — hoeing corn, pulling fodder, and so forth. Of 212 mothers, 188, almost nine-tenths, had worked in the field before marriage; 167 since childhood; and 166, or three-fourths of the mothers visited, had helped in the field after marriage.

A woman’s field work in the mountain country is not so extensive or fatiguing as in the lowlands where the cotton crop requires the constant labor of the entire family many hours a day during a long summer and autumn. In the mountains, little farming is done, the average family raising no appreciable farm produce for sale. The woman helps plant and hoe the corn and in the autumn helps harvest the crops — stripping fodder, carrying it to the barn, making sirup from sorghum cane, picking beans, gathering apples, and digging potatoes. Her field work is not arduous in itself, but only because it is undertaken in addition to her already numerous duties — caring for the children, housework, sewing, canning, and chores.

“Rural Children in Selected Counties of North Carolina,” by Frances Sage Bradley, MD, survey published in 1918, U. S. Department of Labor, Children’s Bureau
online at www.archive.org/stream/ruralchildrenins1918unit/ruralchildrenins1918unit_djvu.txt

One Response

  • Janet, says:

    Mountain women worked very hard and it took it's toll on them. You can look at pictures of women and see how they aged in just a few years. I recently acquired my grandmother's wedding ring, it was very thin and a piece was missing from it. I was told that it wore thin and a piece finally broke from it from all the wood chopping she did. Women deserve a lot more credit and recognition than they get for all they contributed to their families back then.

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