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 guest post from blogger Cheri Daniels, of Georgetown, KY. Author of the Journeys Past blog, Cheri’s a professional genealogist, historian, researcher, gardener, writer, photographer, librarian, and bookworm extraordinaire! In ‘Looking at Anna,’ she tells us “Even though I cannot remember meeting “Aunt Annie,” as the younger generation called her, I remember her estate dispersal. We were allowed into a storage room full of shelves that were loaded with odds and ends. Her life was scattered about the room in the form of tangible objects. If she could have been there, what stories could she have told us about each item? Were there family artifacts there that were rendered silent as we passed by and therefore left to be sold to a stranger?’
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.
On August 7, 1806 Polly Reaves, her 3 children, and 2 neighbors all confirmed a most unusual site in the sky above Chimney Rock in Western North Carolina. ‘She turned towards the Chimney Mountain, and discovered a very numerous crowd of beings resembling the human species, but could not discern any particular members of the human body, nor distinction of sexes; that they were of every size, from the tallest men down to the least infants; that there were more of the small than of the full grown, that they were all clad with brilliant white raiment; but could not describe any form of their garment; that they appeared to rise off the mountain south of said rock, and about as high; that a considerable part of the mountain’s top was visible about this shining host, that they moved in a northern direction, and collected about the top of Chimney Rock.”
July. Hottest, most humid month of the year. So put on your highest boots, long pants, and a long shirt, and head for the woods. Because July is also black raspberry season, and you’re not going to find those sweet sweet delights any other way (oh, I guess you could plant a couple of rows in the garden, but where’s the adventure in that?)
“Do you know that the first bathtub in the United States was made by a rich man in Cincinnati in 1852? It was built of mahogany and lined with tin, and the owner proudly showed it for the first time at a Christmas party. Of course he never used it. Next day the city papers denounced it as ‘wicked, undemocratic and vain.’ Then came the doctors who proclaimed it as ‘unhealthful and a menace to life.’” Dr. Johnson Archer Gray, the author of this statement in a Middlesboro, KY newspaper article about bathing history in America, was just one of the thousands of journalists and historians across America who were taken in by the most astonishingly successful journalistic hoax of the early 20th century.
We’ll wrap things up with a brief 1939 profile of one Andy Orville Bozzel and his family, of Appalachia, VA. “He is now in the C.C. Camp and is receiving thirty dollars per month,” says Maude R. Chandler, who wrote this life history for the Works Projects Administration/Virginia Writers’ Project. “Of that amount twenty two is sent home to his parents. He got to go to the C.C. Camp by his mother taking him to the welfare office and asking that he be signed up. Since going to camp he is completely self supporting. He has been there only a short time. I received this information from his mother. His mother told me that she asked him if signed up to go to night school in Camp and he answered, “You know I did for I want more education.”
And, thanks to the good folks at Rounder Records, we’ll be able to enjoy some authentic Appalachian music from Haywood Blevins in a 1976 recording of “Molly Put the Kettle on,” from a disc titled “Old Originals” and subtitled “Old-time instrumental music recently recorded in North Carolina and Virginia.”
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.