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 a new stage production about Pickens County SC’s most famous outlaw. Lewis Redmond, whose life encompassed bootlegging, a regretted murder, popular adoration and a rough few years in the Federal pen, came to life recently at The Oconee Community Theatre, in Seneca, in mountain playwright Gary Carden’s “The Prince of Dark Corners.” We caught up backstage with Carden and asked him a few questions on how he came to write about Redmond and his world.
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.
Certainly if you were in Wheeling, WV or Parkersburg, WV that night you could have received it. Even as far out as Zanesville, OH or Gallipolis, OH, if you had a crystal radio set, you could have picked up the very first commercial radio broadcast from Pittsburgh station KDKA on November 2, 1920.
“One of my elections was contested,” said Knott County Kentucky Judge Ruby Watts (1905-1992). “They accused me of buying gingerbread and using other ways of influence on the voters. Giving them money. They figured what they done, I done the same thing.” The Knott County town fathers have in recent decades figured out a way to take the gingerbread negative and turn it to a positive. And so, in 1981 the county government created a Gingerbread Festival in Hindman to be held, naturally, when election day rolls around.
Next, we’ll return again to Pittsburgh, which wasn’t always solidly a Pennsylvania city. In the Colonial era, Pennsylvania and Virginia tangled over the definition of one another’s borders on the Western frontier. Virginia governor Lord Dunmore decided to settle the boundary line dispute by forcibly taking possession of Pittsburg and attaching it to the colony of Virginia. It worked for a year or so, but then a band of patriots in Lexington, MA decided to break for good with the mother country. Lord Dunmore’s Tory-leaning lieutenants suddenly found themselves on the wrong side of history.
We’ll wrap things up with a look at Blount Couty Alabama’s covered bridges. Back at the end of October Blount County celebrated the 27th annual Blount County Covered Bridge Festival. The county bills itself the ‘Covered Bridge Capital of Alabama,’ with 3 remaining historic bridges: the Horton Mill Bridge, the Swann Covered Bridge (also called the Joy Covered Bridge or Swann-Joy Covered Bridge), and the Easley Bridge.
And, thanks to the good folks at the Digital Library of Appalachia, we’ll be able to enjoy some authentic Appalachian music from John McCutcheon and the group Wry Straw in a 1978 recording of “St Anne’s Reel.”
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.