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 Collins Company, “one of the most important business enterprises of modern Pennsboro,” according to one West Virginia historian. The company was headed up by Creed Collins, considered the wealthiest man in Ritchie County at the turn of the 20th century. This timber concern was only 2 years into its existence when The Panic of 1907 struck. The Panic caused nationwide bank failures, timber prices collapsed, mine operations ceased, railroads stopped running, and a rash of bankruptcies occurred. The Collins Company was doomed, but its final end had a series of unexpected legal twists.
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.
Annie Taylor could get away with anything she pleased at school. Her father Champ was feared in Catawba Falls, NC by every teacher who had ever tried to rein her in; he’d threatened to kill several, and had literally run one out of town. Then Annie crossed swords with Miss Daintry Graham one day in class, and got the whipping of her life. It wasn’t long before Champ came in search of Miss Graham. Here’s Daintry Graham’s telling of the story.
“Conley delivered the mail on horseback from Travelers Rest to Wild Dog and places in-between and beyond,” Glenna Vickers Burton tells us about life in Travelers Rest, KY during the 1930s & 40s. “He started delivering mail after his return from WWI. Sometimes he delivered groceries from our store or Aunt Sarah’s, when one of his patrons was out of meal or sugar or some other staple item. Many times he was paid for the extra service with a pint of moonshine. But no one ever saw him drink this or any other form of alcohol. He probably gave it to someone who liked moonshine. I bet, if the truth was known, he gave some of that stuff to Sigsbee Scott, our Travelers Rest postmaster.”
Alabama’s oldest Baptist congregation will be 203 years old this year. Or not, depending on whom you ask. Elder John Nicholson led the first worship on October 2, 1808 at the home of James Deaton in Killingsworth Cove (now part of Huntsville.) And for 170 of those 203 years the congregants who’ve adhered to the tenets of the original Flint River Baptist Church of Christ (the Primitive Baptists) have been at odds with more modernized, or Missionary, Baptists.
We’ll wrap things up with a look at the song Liza Jane, an old mountain ballad. Two influential recordings were made of the tune in the 1920′s, which helped spread its popularity among early country musicians.
And, thanks to the good folks at the Tennessee Archives of Moving Images and Sound, we’ll be able to enjoy some authentic Appalachian music from Wise String Orchestra in a 1929-30 recording of Yellow Dog Blues.
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.