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 right 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 look at Tennessee’s largest historic district. During the Great Depression, the Cumberland Homesteads community came into being as part of a nationwide New Deal agrarian movement to create subsistence farm communities to aid out-of-work, rural residents. Cumberland Homesteads was one the first of 33 similar communities built between 1934 and 1938, and eventually consisted of 250 homes, a school, a park area, as well as a stone water tower and governmental building.
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.
Johnny Cash called the 1927 Bristol Sessions “the Big Bang of country music.” It’s a great sound bite, but it wildly oversimplifies the truth. Fiddlin’ John Carson, Uncle Dave Macon, Vernon Dalhart, Frank Hutchison, Ernest Stoneman, the Skillet Lickers, Riley Puckett and Charlie Poole were already established recording artists by the summer of 1927. We’ll poke around behind the scenes a bit to see what was bubbling up in country music prior to those famous Bristol Sessions.
During the early twentieth century, it was not possible to return prisoners doing work in the most distant parts of Oconee County, SC to the county jail at Walhalla every night. The solution was the Oconee County Cage, or “Jail on Wheels,” a prison pulled by a team of horses. While this treatment of prisoners seems horrible by today’s standards, it was hardly unusual for the early 1900s, and it was certainly far better than the treatment many prisoners received during the years before 1900.
We’ll wrap things up with an appreciation for Colonel Ruby Bradley, who was the US Army’s most highly decorated nurse. Bradley served in both WWII and the Korean War, and was only the 3rd woman to achieve the rank of Colonel in the US Army. During her service she was awarded 34 medals and citations of bravery, and was also the recipient of the Florence Nightingale Medal, the Red Cross’ highest international honor.
And, thanks to the good folks at the Digital Archive, we’ll be able to enjoy some authentic Appalachian music from Riley Puckett in a 1926 recording of “Sauerkraut.”
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.