We post a new episode of Appalachian History weekly podcast every Sunday. You can start listening right away by clicking the podcast icon over on the left side of your screen. If you’d rather grab the show off itunes for later listening, click here.
We open today’s show with guest blogger Dylan Thuras. Thuras is a travel blogger and the co-founder of the website ‘Atlas Obscura: A Compendium of the World’s Wonders, Curiosities, and Esoterica.’ We’ll follow him into the night of the Great Smoky Mountains, which in mid-June light up as fireflies begin to blink in beautiful, astonishing unison. The fireflies, who can sense when their neighbor fireflies are flashing, and attempt to flash before them, send waves of light cascading down the hillsides.
Next we’ll follow the youthful high-jinx of Kentuckian Ralph Hall and his brother Mutt, as they connive of ways to get rid of Betsy, the mean old family cow, in this excerpt from Hall’s recently published autobiography “Why Daddy Sold Old Betsy.”
Juliette Gordon Low was originally from Savannah GA. But she founded the first Girl Scout camp, the one that bore her name, in Chattooga County, best known today as the longtime home of folk artist and country philosopher Howard Finster and as the place where Sequoyah developed a written alphabet for the Cherokee language.
Speaking of camp, if you like scary stories told round a fire, listen in as an elderly black preacher in Clayton, GA regales us with the tale of Fiddler’s Mountain. During the 1930s and 1940s Rose Thompson worked as a home supervisor with the Farm Security Administration in Rabun County, and we’re lucky she wrote this tale down for us.
Knoxville retired judge Oliver Perry Temple hit a burst of creative activity in his last years. One of his dear friends bemoaned the fact that “our southern people will not write their own history, nor even prepare materials for the future historian. Hence our noblest deeds and characters are forgotten, or misrepresented.” He took that as his call to action and produced three history books, starting at the tender age of 77.
We’ll wrap things up with a look at the toys you can fashion from summer mountain woods and meadows. Skipping stones across a creek or running alongside a fence, stick in hand, clacking the fenceposts—these pastimes are available any time of year. But the summer meadow has always held special treasures.
And, thanks to the good folks at the Digital Library of Appalachia we’ll be able to enjoy some authentic Appalachian music from Jim Lurson, in a 2006 recording of the traditional Irish tune “Coleman’s March.”
So, call your old blue-tick hound up on the porch, fire up your corn-cob pipe, and settle in for a dose of Appalachian History.