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 excerpt from Handling Serpents: Pastor Jimmy Morrow’s History of His Appalachian Jesus’ Name Tradition. “Service got started with the congregation singing,” he explains about his style of worship. “Then they had prayer request and there was prayer. They also had special singing. About that time Mullins from Virginia carried up front a big black rattlesnake in a box and set it next to a box with two copperheads in it.”
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.
Dr. Harriet B. Jones well deserved the laurels she earned as West Virginia’s first woman physician, as the first woman to serve in the State Legislature, as the founder of numerous hospitals and welfare institutions, and as a vigorous pioneer in the fight against tuberculosis. In 1937 the Morgantown Post gave its readers an extensive overview of her long career.
Moses Cone learned men. He learned how to win them.
And by doing so he rose from being a traveling drummer in NC for his family’s grocery business to being the head of Cone Mills Corporation, which became a leading manufacturer of denim. His company was a major supplier to Levi Strauss and Company for nearly a century. In ‘Moses Cone Remembered,’ Josephus Daniels (Secretary of the Navy under Woodrow Wilson) describes the neighbor who he summered near in the Blowing Rock area.
Nationally recognized herbalist Tommie Bass (1908-1996) was the subject of scholarly and popular books, television features, a front-page essay in the Wall Street Journal. The Alabama native was also wickedly funny in his offhand observations of life lived. In this excerpt of a transcript from a 1993 documentary, Bass sums up his view of being pitched to vote for one or another politician.
In March 1782, Timothy Dorman and his family, white settlers of Fort Buckhannon (in modern day Upshur County, WV) were captured by Shawnee Indians. One hundred years later novelist Charles McKnight envisioned the party’s abduction from Mrs. Dorman’s point of view in “Simon Girty : “The white savage”; A romance of the border.” Her sufferings will chill you to the bone.
We’ll wrap things up with a brief appreciation for the dried apple stack cake, one of the most popular southern Appalachian cakes. At holidays and weddings, early mountain settlers traditionally served stack cake in lieu of more fancy, and costly, cakes. Neighbors would each bring a layer of the cake to the bride’s family, which they spread with apple filling as they arrived. It was said that the number of cake layers the bride got determined how popular she was.
And, thanks to the good folks at the Digital Library of Appalachia we’ll be able to enjoy some authentic Appalachian music by the band Wry Straw in a 1970s recording of the classic old-time fiddle tune “Kitchen Girl.”
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.