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 an Appalachian folktale with the curious name of “Sody Sallyraytus.” Saleratus appeared on the market in 1840, replacing pearlash as a baking ingredient to produce rising in dough. By the start of the 1860s baking soda in turn replaced it. For a short time some people called the new baking soda ‘saleratus.’ This story, then, probably dates from that period when both terms were used simultaneously: “soda/saleratus.”
We’ll pause in between things to catch up on a Calendar of Events in the region this week, with special attention paid to events that emphasize heritage and local color.
One day in February 1909 the building’s landlord suddenly died. The Children’s Mission Home orphanage in Knoxville TN,
after 19 years in the same location, and with nowhere to move, stood on the edge of the extinction. “Friends came to sympathize, enemies to sneer,” recounts Rev. JR Lauritzen, the superintendent. “They said to me, ‘You’re in a bad fix now; what are you going to do?’ I told them I was going to do nothing, but to trust in the Lord, and the Lord would provide.”
Ever heard or used the expression duke’s mixture? It has nothing to do with royalty, unless you consider the tobacco titans of the nineteenth century to be such. In this next piece we’ll go back to the Reconstruction era in North Carolina and follow the footsteps of Washington Duke. His tobacco products, in particular the brand known as “Duke’s Mixture,” rose to national dominance by 1900.
Her schools earned plaudits from Presidents Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Calvin Coolidge, and Franklin Roosevelt. The Boys Industrial School motivated communities throughout the South to begin educating their young people in earnest, blazing a trail for the establishment of an agricultural and mechanical school in each of Georgia’s congressional districts. As a result of her 40 years of work in education, Martha Berry—the Sunday Lady of Possum Trot— is among Georgia’s most prominent women of the first half of the 20th century.
By 1914, the art of manually hewing a log into a finished board was already dying. The author of our next piece explains step by step how the pioneer artisans of old made their boards by that method. The Foxfire books were still decades in the future, but after reading this you’ll probably want to head out to the back lot, harvest an oak or two, and start ‘cracking’ logs.
We’ll wrap things up in this, the season of baseball, with a nod towards baseball legend Cy Young. On August 6, 1890, Young pitched his first professional game against Cap Anson’s Chicago White Stockings. Anson had scouted Young while he was with the Canton, OH minor league team and rejected him as being “just another big farmer.” Have you ever heard of the ‘Cap Anson Award’? Didn’t think so. ‘Cy,’ by the way, is short for ‘cyclone.’
And, thanks to the good folks at the Digital Archive we’ll be able to enjoy some authentic Appalachian music by G.B. Grayson and Harry Whitter in a 1927 recording of the traditional tune ‘Handsome Molly.’
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.