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 building of Middlesboro, KY. “Men of all trades and callings were entering Yellow Creek Valley, most of them having come by train as far as Pineville, ten miles away, whence they advanced by wagon, hack, horse, or mule,” reports Henry Harvey Fuson in his 1947 History Of Bell County Volume II. “Although the constituent parts of a few portable houses had been brought in and set up, tents were employed almost altogether for both living and business purposes, and by mid-autumn of 1889 the Valley looked, at a distance, as if it were occupied by an army.”
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.
It took the individual effort of each Jarvis, mother and daughter, over two generations to forge the Mother’s Day we recognize today. And it’s a story with a twist, so buckle up!
In Knott County, KY the two women were known as the ‘fotched-on women from the level land.’ Beginning in 1899, Katherine Pettit and May Stone spent three summers in social settlement work in Kentucky at Camp Cedar Grove, Camp Industrial, and Sassafras Social Settlement. They became educational lamplighters in an area of eastern Kentucky where there was little opportunity for boys to get jobs and education was considered superfluous for girls.
Next, we’ll listen in as Peter L. Livengood of Salisbury, PA gives an account of Grantsville, Maryland’s oldest inn: Little Crossings in a 1926 article from the Meyersdale Republican. The inn is still standing today and is now known as Penn Alps Restaurant & Craft Shop.
We’ll wrap things up with a look at the most famous of Alabama’s 3,400 documented caves. Russell Cave (now a national monument), is the oldest rock shelter used regularly for a home in the eastern United States. Named for Thomas Russell, a veteran of the American Revolution who once owned the land above it, this limestone cave is located south of the Alabama-Tennessee border along the southern end of the Cumberland Plateau in northeastern Alabama.
And, thanks to the good folks at the Digital Archive we’ll be able to enjoy some authentic Appalachian music by the Knoxville trio Mountain Laurel in a modern recording of Hewlett’s Air by the great Irish Renaissance harpist and composer Turlough O’Carolan (Toirdhealbhach Ó Cearbhalláin).
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.