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 the WV raised innkeeper who was hailed as the “hotel man of the half century” in 1950. From a 13-year-old bellhop at Wheeling’s McLure House to a business giant and multimillionaire—Ellsworth Milton Statler (1863-1928), virtually without benefit of formal education, climbed to the pinnacle of the hotel business.
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.
“Kitteneye, are ye goin’ to marry Jane Hughes?” Sarah’s mother exclaimed. In this delightful excerpt from her 1979 autobiography “What My Heart Wants to Tell,” Kentuckian Verna Mae Slone (1914-2009) relates the story of how her father Isom ‘Kitteneye’ Slone proposed to her mother, Sarah Owens Slone.
“She made the best butter around, sold potato chips on the streets of Staunton and let her eyes drink in the beauty of the Valley,” guest author David Ress says of his famous subject in this April 22, 2011 article on the newsleader.com site. “The Shenandoah Valley captured New York native Grandma Moses’ heart as a newlywed on an overnight train stop here. Now, the state Department of Historic Resources plans a highway marker to remind passers-by of the famed artist’s ties to the area.”
Coin collectors today consider the hobo nickel a numismatic treasure, a tribute to long- forgotten folk artists who often literally carved for their supper. The Buffalo nickel debuted in 1913, but it wasn’t until the Great Depression struck that hobo nickel carving reached its peak.
“During the 1870s, William Murphy of Greenville, S. C., wandered through these North Carolina mountains making music every day,” John Preston Arthur tells us in his 1914 historical vignette ‘A Wandering Minstrel He.’ “Like Stephen Foster, he was regarded as a half-vagabond, but he was tolerated for the pleasure his enchanted violin gave whenever he drew his magic bow across its strings.”
We’ll wrap things up with some folk wisdom on the habits of rattlesnakes, and how to cure their bite, by Meshach Browning (1781-1859). Browning was an early backwoodsman, hunter and explorer of the watersheds of Maryland’s North Branch Potomac and Youghiogheny Rivers. He has been celebrated as the state’s most famous frontier hunter.
And, thanks to the good folks at the Digital Archive, we’ll be able to enjoy some authentic Appalachian music from Samantha Bumgarner in a 1924 recording of “Shout Lula.”
So, call your old Plott hound up on the porch, fire up your corn-cob pipe, and settle in for a dose of Appalachian History.