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 guest post from bloggers Roger and June Lowe, a writing/photography team in Bluff City, TN. Appalachian history can be found in the oddest places and attached to the strangest things, they tell us. A cookbook, for example, can dish up a nice serving of history in addition to recipes. Especially a book published in 1890 and passed down from mother to daughter through the years.
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.
In our next piece, Georgia storyteller Chuck Larkin will try and bend your ear with a shaggy dog story about his Uncle John and Aunt Irene in the Georgia mountains. Seems their place was hot enough one August day to actually melt a hog. “I know you may not believe this but I do not have any reason to lie to you,” winks Larkin. “Oh I might tell you something seven or eight different ways but I wouldn’t lie.”
In August 1931, Jean Thomas found herself invited to the Governor’s mansion in Frankfort, KY to discuss the creation of an American Folk Song Society and an annual festival open to the public. How did Thomas get to this point, and why did she call herself the “Traipsin’ Woman?”
Visitors love Chained Rock at Pine Mountain, Kentucky’s first state park, established in 1924. But why is there a chain around it? Some children of Pineville, goes the story, were having troubles sleeping at night because they were afraid that the large rocks that loomed over Pineville on Pine Mountain would break free, come tumbling down the mountain, and smash into Pineville. Some of the town fathers decided it would be a great publicity stunt to draw tourists if they could bring this folklore to life.
Farm life is never as bucolic as non-farmers imagine. Waucella Gregory of Rocky Gap, VA was milking a cow one morning, when the cow got overly protective of its nearby calf. It kicked Waucella in the face, and then broke her leg. She managed to drag herself out of the barn and across a fence to safety, but still nearly died in the field because no one heard her calls for a long time.
We’ll wrap things up with a selection from a 1901 novel titled “Winning or Losing; a story of the West Virginia hills.” While waiting together under an awning for the rain to let up, two friends get to ribbing one another about the relative merits of each one’s town. Naturally they both have terrible things to say about where the other lives.
And, thanks to the good folks at the Digital Archive. we’ll be able to enjoy some authentic Appalachian music by Gerry Dempsey, Ian Jacks and Tom Joad in a 2004 recording of the traditional mountain tune “St. Anne’s Reel.”
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.