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 Arthur McDade, author of ‘Old Smoky Mountain Days’ and a contributor to ‘The Encyclopedia of Appalachia.’ Joseph S. Hall, McDade tells us, was an unlikely candidate to become the leader in the documentation of the language and culture of the Smoky Mountain people. He was born and raised in Montana, a long way from the mountains and “hollers” of the Smokies, Yet today Hall’s interviews and recordings, made over decades of visiting the Smoky Mountains, provide a goldmine resource for historians and linguists.
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.
Next, we’ll take a look at poet, playwright and novelist Olive Tilford Dargan, widely considered to be one of the best authors ever to come out of the Appalachian South. Dargan, who was born Jan. 11, 1869 in Litchfield, KY, focused on women and working class issues of the region. Few have surpassed her in description of mountain beauty or in her sympathy for the less fortunate. She was especially interested in fighting the stereotypes of mountain people and culture that were propagated in local color writings.
“How could he be a Republican?” asked a young Rose Slemp of her great uncle, Colonel Campbell Slemp. “This question, the grown- ups in the family did not even attempt to answer. I overheard, as I often did when I was not supposed to be listening, Grandmother ask her daughter, Hagan, to please call Carroll, her only son, at once. She explained that there was a matter she must discuss with him now. Grandmother’s request was due to the fact that she felt that her son, who was twenty-one, and would cast his first vote in the upcoming election, must hear from her a fair appraisal of her brother, Campbell. The decision, she told her son, was to be made by him and without any pressure from the fact that ‘your Uncle Cam is my brother, but your Father was a Democrat – always a Democrat – and your Uncle Cam has not always been a Republican.’”
We’ll wrap things up with a guest post from by Joseph T. Lee III on the Was-Cott / Tazewell Manufacturing Company of Tazewell, VA. “I’ve researched a mostly overlooked industry that affects our lives every day,” says Lee, “—the soda bottling industry, which I was surprised to find was quite prevalent in the Southwest Virginia area.”
And, thanks to the good folks at the Digital Archive, we’ll be able to enjoy some authentic Appalachian music from Frank Hutchison in a 1929 recording of ‘K.C. Blues.’
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.