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 West Virginian Stella Fuller. On Oct. 14, 1980, Stella Fuller Day was proclaimed by the mayor of Huntington, WV to acknowledge her lifelong efforts in helping the poor and disadvantaged of that community. And in 2008 she was posthumously inducted into the Greater Huntington Wall of Fame for her 60 years of service. But she wasn’t always so well honored. After 25 years of exceptional service with the Huntington chapter of the Salvation Army she was expecting to be nominated for the top job in the post. But she left under a cloud, bitter at the back room politics of it all. The story has a silver lining, however, and one that she herself did not anticipate.
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 hear an old Kentucky folktale titled ‘Old Farmer Was A Miser Of The Worst Kind! His Love Of Gold Led To Great Misery,’ as told by McCreary Roberts in Kentucky Explorer magazine. The title pretty much gives away the end of the story, but Roberts spins a colorful yarn in the course of making the moral point.
“The most serious difficulty that arose over the stateline issue, and one which threatened bloodshed, was what has been termed the The Water-Works War,” historian Isaac Shelby tells us in this excerpt from his 1909 book Historic Sullivan; a history of Sullivan County, Tennessee. “In April, 1889, the Bristol-Goodson Water Company, then just completing their plant on the Tennessee side, desired to extend their water-mains to the Virginia side. This evoked a loud protest from the Virginia authorities and public.”
“A new industry has sprung up in the Joe Wheeler Lake area,” begins an article on worm fiddling from the July 23, 1937 edition of the Florence AL Times Daily. “Numerous followers of Izaak Walton spend their time fishing in the fisherman’s paradise created by the TVA.” The writer goes on to explain how worm fiddlers work their magic to get the worms to come up to ground level, where they can then be rounded up and sold to the fishermen.
We’ll wrap things up with a look at the origins of the phrase Ollie, Ollie, in come free. This was the call from the person who was ‘It’ letting those hiding children (the ‘Outs’) know it was safe to come back to base in the children’s game of hide-and-seek. The phrase has a more varied history than you might imagine.
And, thanks to the good folks at the Internet Archive, we’ll be able to enjoy some authentic Appalachian music from Charlie Poole and his North Carolina Ramblers in a 1929 recording of Leaving Dear Old Ireland.
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.