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 how Mother’s Day came about. Ann Maria Reeves Jarvis, of Grafton WV, had attempted starting a series of Mothers’ Day Work Clubs in five West Virginia towns in 1858 to improve sanitation. She continued to organize women throughout the Civil War to work for better sanitary conditions for both sides. But it took the individual efforts of Jarvis, and later her daughter Anna, two full generations to forge the Mother’s Day we recognize today.
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.
“Well, I have killed the best friend I have got,” says one Eugene Beck to the Rabun County, GA sheriff after he shoots his wife late one evening in 1881. In this partial court transcript, Beck is indicted for the murder of his wife, Ella Beck. He pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity. He was convicted for life at the state penitentiary, where he later died of blood poisoning while working in the coal mines as a convict in May, 1890.
At the Museum of Appalachia, there is history even in the plants and trees, guest author Carol Ostrom, Resources Director at the museum, tells us. Two magnolia trees in front of the Hall of Fame in particular have national significance; their stories are intertwined with the lives of President Andrew Jackson, President Ronald Reagan, and Senator Howard H. Baker, Jr.
The McPhail Angus Farm, in the vicinity of Seneca, SC, has been a locally significant farm for more than one hundred years. The farm illustrates twentieth century developments in agriculture in the South Carolina upcountry, most notably the transition from a traditional dependence on growing cotton as a cash crop to raising cattle as a major source of farm income.
We’ll wrap things up with a walk through The Vardy School. The Tennessee establishment, completed in 1929 and in operation until the 1970s, was a mission school that offered educational opportunities to members of one of America’s least-known ethnic groups: the Melungeons.
And, thanks to the good folks at the Digital Library of Appalachia, we’ll be able to enjoy some authentic Appalachian harmonica music from John Lozier in a 1992 recording of “Heaven’s Jubilee.”
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.