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 guest author Roger Hagy Jr.’s interview of Jane Greer Puckett, which appeared recently in the University of Tennessee alumni magazine, ‘Torchbearer.’ UT’s first statistics graduate discusses how she did her part for the U.S. war effort in the 1940s, including her work with the top-secret Manhattan Project.
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.
Up till the middle of the 20th century, many Appalachian residents, like Americans elsewhere, downed an annual spring tonic of sulfur and molasses. It was believed the family needed a good “spring cleaning” after a sedentary winter eating dried vegetables and salted meat. Each member of the family would have their dose of this mixture to purify their blood, thin or “cut” the blood, and make them feel better after the long winter.
Next, guest author C. Douglas Ward interviewed 4 residents of Williamson, WV who lived through the hard times of the 1930s in that town. “The Depression gave my family and me a gratefulness nothing else did,” Myra Cumiford told him. “I carried from the times a gaining of personal positives from a world of negatives. We gained an appreciation. Greed today took off from the Depression. People, especially big companies, tried to get from everybody so they could get by in case of another Depression.”
Like many locations in Georgia, many of Rabun County’s place names are derived from Indian names. In Rabun County that would be the Cherokees. In most Indian place names, we know the English spelling of how the Cherokees pronounced the word, but no actual translation of what the word means.
We’ll wrap things up with an appreciation for the MM Shepherd Store in Hendersonville, NC, which Susan Shepherd took over in 1929. “During the years of the Great Depression,” says Hendersonville newspaper columnist Louise Bailey, “there were times Mrs. Shepherd didn’t collect enough money in the course of a day to bother locking it in the cash register overnight, and certainly not in the store’s huge metal safe. Instead, she secreted it underneath a pile of merchandise. In many cases she was obliged to give credit, and bills were never sent, for she knew the people would pay when and in what manner they could.”
And, thanks to the good folks at the Digital Archive, we’ll be able to enjoy some authentic Appalachian music from Uncle Jimmy Thompson in a 1930 recording of ‘Lynchburg.’
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.