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 the story of Louie Wohinc, who dominated central WV’s glass industry in the 1920s and 1930s. At their height, his factories produced 144,000 pieces of glass every 24 hours – all by hand!
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.
“There is no question in my mind but that the present condition is largely psychological and that if everyone will get their liver to working correctly and forget their troubles of the past, and look forward with confidence to the future, we will have a better 1921 than the last half of 1920 has proven to be.” James D. Hammett, of Anderson, SC, president of the Cotton Manufacturers Association of South Carolina, gives an overview of the industry in that state in
the 1920 Annual report of the Commissioner of Agriculture, Commerce and Industries.
Next, we’ll look at Joe Sharp’s lyrics for “Cotton Mill Blues.” Sharp played mandolin for the Skyline Farms square dancers, of Skyline Farms, AL when they performed for Eleanor Roosevelt at the White House in 1939, and his band was recorded by folklorists John and Alan Lomax for the Library of Congress on that trip.
In ‘The Journal of William Franklin Mason,’ the author (who was born in 1872 in Horton Flats, KY) relates how local residents earned a bit of extra money in his youth. “In that back country in the 1870’s money was very scarce. Just how scarce we people of this day can hardly realize. Most trade in the store was exchange of goods for farm produce. In order to get some real money Father went to the county seat, Sandy Hook, and bid in a pauper.”
“Not much spectacular ever happened on North Fifth,” George A. Mosel tells us about the Steubenville, OH of 1914, in his book ‘Through a Rear-View Mirror’. “The people just wouldn’t allow it. No big fires, or robberies, juicy divorce cases or scandals that I can recall. That is not to say life was one soft bed of roses.”
We’ll wrap things up with an oral history from Mrs. Mary J. Jones, who was born 1910 in Clifton, NC. She talks about the white trash who lived up at the very top of her grandmother’s cove. “They had all sorts of devious ways to try to get things from other people. One man, for several years, worked in different sections of the country on the fact that his wife had just died. She always died under very bad circumstances which left him in dire need. He made a lot of money that way.”
And, thanks to the good folks at the Digital Library of Appalachia we’ll be able to enjoy some authentic Appalachian music by John Lozier in a 1981 recording of the traditional tune “Blackberry Blossom.”
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.