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 2007 interview with James Brennan, whose family once owned part of the land the Oak Ridge National Laboratory now occupies. Brennan’s parents planned to keep their Chestnut Ridge place in the family for the rest of their lives, but by fall 1942 events beyond their control dictated otherwise. World War II was in full swing, and The Manhattan Project uprooted the Tennessee family for good.
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 September 6, 1934, seven workers were shot and killed and 30 others wounded at the Chiquola Mill in Honea Path, SC. It was an act that has shaped the town’s history and attitudes in ways that few could have imagined. Yet, sadly, the old Chiquola Mill today stands in a seemingly unending state of demolition—now being torn down almost brick by brick. Not only have Honea Path’s founding fathers done little to preserve the town’s rich legacy, but it seems that some genuinely want to forget.
Next, John R. Jasper describes a budding 1930s romance in the Hungarian immigrant community centered in West Virginia’s northern panhandle. “At that first meeting,” he relates, “Helen wasn’t at all impressed with Jim because he was trying so hard to impress her. Jim had heard a lot about Helen in his letters from Margaret and meeting her was part of the reason he drove all the way down there in a $75 car!”
Melville Davisson Post’s third book ‘Dwellers in the Hills’ (1901) is a romance of the old West Virginia cattle country in which his youth was passed. Based on his experiences as a child, the novel tells the story of three young West Virginians who take on a contract to drive a herd of cattle across the state in a limited amount of time. “There is caught in his style as by some witchery the dreamy alluring atmosphere of the green sod, the bright rivers and the haze of the hills,” said one reviewer of the book.
We’ll wrap things up with the tale of 2 women known in Knott County, KY as the ‘fotched-on women from the level land.’ Beginning in 1899, Katherine Pettit and May Stone spent three summers in social settlement work in Kentucky at Camp Cedar Grove, Camp Industrial, and Sassafras Social Settlement. They became educational lamplighters in an area of eastern Kentucky where there was little opportunity for boys to get jobs and education was considered superfluous for girls.
And, thanks to the good folks at the Digital Library of Appalachia, we’ll be able to enjoy some authentic Appalachian music from Clarice Shelor in a 1978 recording of ‘Whistlin Rufus.’
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.