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 a story set in Havana in 1899. Mrs. R. A. McFerrin, of Oliver Springs TN, was visiting her son, who commanded a detachment of the 4th Tennessee there during the Spanish American War. She befriended and shortly after decided to adopt a young girl who’d been orphaned because of the war. Just as they were about to board the boat headed back to the States, a bureaucratic nightmare threatened to completely undo the adoption.
Charles Howard Hopkins’ family moved to Berea KY in the early years of the 20th century. His father, who was in the oil business, worked many states away for months at a time. And Hopkins’ mother had a kidney condition that was worsening all the time. The young schoolboy found a way through it all by shining in the school spelling bee.
Have you ever had to take the fall because you crossed swords with a higher up you caught doing wrong? Did they ever fire a gun directly at you? Did they send minions to ransack your home in the middle of the night? William Henry Jenkins’ family had to endure every one of these things all because his dad volunteered to be a deputy sheriff in Norton, VA.
Today, Ruby Falls, inside Lookout Mountain, TN, is the largest underground waterfall open to the public in the United States. Leo Lambert, who discovered it in 1928, did so completely by accident. His construction crew was digging out an opening for an elevator shaft to connect one section of the Lookout Mountain Cave to another when one of the men noticed air rushing up through a small crevice. We’re glad they thought to investigate further.
We’ll wrap things up with a tall tale told by one Mrs. Judge Downing Baugh of Athens OH in 1899. Seems the Ransoms and the Wilsons of Round Bottom just couldn’t get along. One of the townsmen dreams he died and went to hell. The devil himself had some lively comments about the Round Bottom feud.
And, thanks to the good folks at the Digital Library of Appalachia we’ll be able to enjoy some authentic Appalachian music by Don Pedi and Tad Wright in a 1979 recording of the traditional fiddle tune ‘Bonaparte Crossing the Alps’.
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.