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 summertime bug story. “I heard that June beetles made a sweet sound while flying around,” says Lilly Ann Parks Adams, recalling her girlhood in Wayne County, WV during the 1880s. “I loved music, and the method to acquire this living music box was to fasten a long thread to one of the bug’s hind legs.” Of course, she had to catch and keep one first.
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.
Get the ice cream maker out! It’s summer, and there’s nothing so fine as freshly made rock salt ice cream. Just make sure you gather every kid in the neighborhood to take a turn cranking the dang thing.
One of the most enduring stories in the history of West Virginia concerns the identity of the assassin of President William McKinley. According to a newspaper article published shortly after the shooting, several books about the history of the state of West Virginia, as well as the archives of the West Virginia Division of Culture and History, President McKinley’s assassin, Leon Czolgosz, lived in Kanawha City where he was employed at a nail mill as a wire drawer shortly before he took McKinley’s life. This popular story is based more upon myth than reality.
It’s tent revival season throughout Appalachia – the region that invented the tent revival. The first camp meeting took place in July 1800 at Gasper River Church in southwestern Kentucky. A much larger one was held at Cane Ridge, Kentucky, in August 1801, where between 10,000 and 25,000 people attended, and Presbyterian, Baptist and Methodist ministers participated. It was this event that stamped the organized revival as the major mode of church expansion for denominations such as the Methodists and Baptists, who were newly converted by the teachings of John Wesley.
We’ll wrap things up with a commentary on the mid-19th century lumber industry in western Maryland by one Jacob Brown from an 1896 history of his. “In Grantsville district quite a number of water power mills were erected between the years 1835-1855, but there are now only two or three within the same limits. Steam power mills have taken their places.”
And, thanks to the good folks at Grapevine Productions, we’ll be able to enjoy some authentic Appalachian music by Don Pedi in a 1985 recording of the classic fiddle tune Midnight on the Water.
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.