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 the Collins Company, “one of the most important business enterprises of modern Pennsboro,” according to one West Virginia historian. The company was headed up by Creed Collins, considered the wealthiest man in Ritchie County at the turn of the 20th century. This timber concern was only 2 years into its existence when The Panic of 1907 struck. The Panic caused nationwide bank failures, timber prices collapsed, mine operations ceased, railroads stopped running, and a rash of bankruptcies occurred. The Collins Company was doomed, but its final end had a series of unexpected legal twists.
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.
Do you remember the childhood phrase “Ollie, Ollie, in come free”? It was the call from the person who was ‘It’ letting those hiding children (the ‘Outs’) know it was safe to come back to base in the children’s game of hide-and-seek. The phrase has a more varied history than you might imagine.
The Gassaway Mansion in Greenville, SC is still the largest house in the Upstate at 22,000 square feet. “Walter L. Gassaway is one of the very well known bankers and financiers of Upper South Carolina, is president of three banks, including the American Bank of Greenville, and is also extensively engaged in cotton manufacture,” said his profile in the 1920 “History of South Carolina, Volume 4.” It looked as though Walter and his wife Minnie were set for life. But this piece was written before the 1929 stock market crash changed their world permanently.
Pioneer settlers moving into Ohio’s Miami Valley and the Virginia Military Tract were generally poor and unable to buy land directly from the government, but they were able to buy lots and small farms from speculators. In this piece, we’ll focus on the women settlers, who were forced by economic circumstances to learn to live off the land and fend for themselves when the men were away.
We’ll wrap things up with the North Carolina folktale ‘Chicken Thumb.’ A farmer by the name of Hoopie has a randy rooster called Red who’s overly enthusiastic about his job of fertilizing. When Red takes a shine to Daisy the cow, Hoopie decides enough is enough. But Red’s not so easy to catch, and in order to get his hands on the barnyard Romeo, Hoopie has to resort to a hilarious disguise.
And, thanks to the good folks at the The Field Recorder’s Collective, we’ll be able to enjoy some authentic Appalachian music from Tommy Jarrell in a live performance of ‘Old Time Sally Ann,’ from the FRC’s 2009 release Tommy Jarrell Volume 2.
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.