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 the story of a company whose products can be found in such notable buildings as the Lincoln Memorial and the NY Stock Exchange Annex. Small marble quarries had been active in north Georgia since the discovery in the 1830’s of the rare, bright pink marble that the area is famous for. But under the 3-generation dynasty of the Tate family, the Georgia Marble Company, begun in 1884, rose to monopoly status.
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.
Betty Lester served as a practicing nurse midwife at the Frontier Nursing Service in Wendover, KY, beginning in 1928. In our next piece, an oral history she recorded in 1978, Lester tells about a pregnant woman at high risk who lived just beyond the service area of the Frontier Nursing Service, and the politic hoops Lester had to jump through to get clearance to help the woman.
Major crime remained very rare in Noble County, Ohio, says Roger Pickenpaugh in his “History of Noble County 1887-1987,” and the occasional exceptions made big news. One of the county’s more baffling murder cases began on November 5, 1905, when the family of William Leisure returned to their Carlisle home from Sunday church services and found Leisure sitting fatally wounded in his chair with two bullet wounds to the head. Rumors of illicit romance soon surfaced.
“One time Ancil Ramey— that was Ripgear’s boy— slipped and fell underneath it, but the bus was sittin’ still at the time, and he was lucky it didn’t roll back on him and maybe kill ’im,” says Margaret Adkins in her telling of riding the schoolbus from Raccoon Creek to Salt Creek, WV in the 1930s. “Sometimes we’d get stuck on Green Valley Hill, so the boys, they’d get out and help shove the bus up the hill.”
One night in early 1942 when President Franklin Roosevelt was scheduled to arrive in Chattanooga, TN, George W. Christians threatened to cut off the city’s electric power. Christians, chief officer of the fascist group Crusader White Shirts, embraced “the fascist idea of personal leadership, unity, force, drama and nationalism” and actively encouraged his followers to seize control of the government. The Secret Service was not amused, and it wasn’t long before they paid Christians a visit.
We’ll wrap things up with a 1998 oral history from Irene Cook of Sandy Mush, NC, who shares her thoughts on quiltmaking, at both the private and the public levels. “There is a quilt in the community center that we made back whenever they were thinking of using this community for a nuclear waste dump. Done as a protest. We just came up with the idea, and everybody done something, you know, about the community.”
And, thanks to the good folks at the Digital Archive, we’ll be able to enjoy some authentic Appalachian music from the Blue Ridge Highballers in a 1926 recording of ‘Flop-Eared Mule.’
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.