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 oral history from Okey R. Stover of Upper Paint Creek, WV. Stover relates the story of one Joe Raines, who “made his boast that he lived in Cirtsville for 40 years, and had as much to eat and was as well dressed as anyone else, and had never done any useful work. Joe said the Lord had sent him here as a pest on the Maynors and Williames for their meanness. That is the only reason Joe ever gave for coming to Cirtsville.”
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.
“The most serious difficulty that arose over the stateline issue, and one which threatened bloodshed, was what has been termed the The Water-Works War,” historian Isaac Shelby tells us in this excerpt from his 1909 book ‘Historic Sullivan; a history of Sullivan County, Tennessee.’ “In April, 1889, the Bristol-Goodson Water Company, then just completing their plant on the Tennessee side, desired to extend their water-mains to the Virginia side. This evoked a loud protest from the Virginia authorities and public.”
Coin collectors today consider the hobo nickel a numismatic treasure, a tribute to long-forgotten folk artists who often literally carved for their supper. The Buffalo nickel debuted in 1913, but it wasn’t until the Great Depression struck that hobo nickel carving reached its peak.
Kentucky began a campaign in the 1880s to attract Western European immigrants to the state, which had been losing population to America’s new westward movement at alarming rates. The Kentucky Bureau of Immigration, the State Geological Survey and the newly created Bureau of Agriculture, Labor & Statistics worked together to send agents abroad, loaded with broadsides and pamphlets, to describe Kentucky’s bright future prospects. The Swiss jumped first, as you’ll hear in this segment on Die Kolony Bernstadt.
James Henry Brakebill partnered briefly with photographer William J. McCoy at the turn of the 20th century in Knoxville. But by the end of that first decade he merged his business with the Knaffl Brothers to form Knaffl & Brakebill. Knaffl & Brakebill went on to receive widespread acclaim for their photographic work in the early decades of this century, helping to pioneer the use of a bichromate process to create relief image photos. Dr. Braxton D. Avis explains the technique in this article from ‘The American annual of photography, 1920.”
We’ll wrap things up with a look at one of southeastern Ohio’s most historic mills. The western Algonquin called it the ‘Mooskingom,’ and to the Narragansett tribe it was the ‘Mooshingung’ —”water clear as an elk’s eye.” The Muskingum River, which empties into the mighty Ohio River from the furthest point in Columbiana County, is at 112 miles long the longest river lying wholly within Ohio. And the last remaining mill on the Muskingum River is the Stockport Mill in the town of the same name.
And, thanks to the good folks at the Digital Archive, we’ll be able to enjoy some authentic Appalachian music from Eck Robertson in a 1922 recording of “Sally Gooden.”
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.