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 an excerpt from interviews of coal miner Joseph Ozanic, Sr. (1895-1978). Ozanic discusses the conflict between the Progressive Miners of America (of which he was president) and John L. Lewis’ United Mine Workers of America. “The miners all over the United States didn’t want John L.’s corrupt company union leadership, nor the United Mine Workers. In 1936, John L. reportedly donated $650,000 in political contributions to the administration then in power; $650,000 that he sponged out of the treasury of the United Mine Workers without the consent of the rank and file who actually owned that money.”
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.
Barbara Oakley Hayes was 2 years old when “the rains started, continuing for days on end.” Her family had just moved to Oakdale, TN to a house along the banks of the Emory River. “The hills and mountain streams poured forth to swell the river far beyond its normal boundary,” she says. “It was March 23, 1929 and nothing in the path of the rising Emory River was safe.”
Alabama has 3,400 documented caves. The most famous of these is Russell Cave (now a national monument), the oldest rock shelter used regularly for a home in the eastern United States. Named for Thomas Russell, a veteran of the American Revolution who once owned the land above it, this limestone cave is located south of the Alabama-Tennessee border along the southern end of the Cumberland Plateau in northeastern Alabama.
On the evening of Sunday, March 20, 1927, Robert Chapman “Chap” Osborne, a prohibition officer for the Tazewell County Sheriff’s Office, pulled over a vehicle suspected of transporting illegal alcohol near the town of Richlands, VA. Guest blogger Ron Dees, author of the Wythe Notes blog, picks up the thread of the story for us, and manages to dig up a twist on this crime story from Osborne’s past.
“The Battle of King’s Mountain (October 7, 1780) was an American victory over a loyalist detachment in South Carolina during the British campaign in the South,” begins the Encyclopedia Brittanica entry on the topic. But of course there’s a different view of the battle than the British one, and North Carolina’s Overmountain Victory Trail Association re-enactor group seeks to clarify the Colonists’ side of the tale each October. “Our desire is to keep the story alive on what these men and women did back in 1780,” says current OVTA president Alan Bowen. “The story was lost—or was being lost; schools don’t teach it.”
And, thanks to the good folks at the Digital Archive, we’ll be able to enjoy some authentic Appalachian music from Jimmie Rodgers With The Three Southerners in a 1928 recording of ‘The Sailor’s Plea.’
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.