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 milk sickness, a 19th century malady that caused thousands of deaths throughout Appalachia and the upper Midwest. In 1838, an Ohio farmer named John Rowe discovered the cause of the disease, but because his findings differed from those of a famous Cincinnati doctor, they were ignored. Another 90 years went by before mainstream medicine came right back to the conclusion John Rowe had reached, and the disease was finally cured.
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, here’s a short overview of the Primitive Baptist Universalists, or no-hellers, as they’re sometimes referred to by others. Members of the PBU are quick to point out that they DO believe in hell, but solely as a factor of the temporal world, with all sin being punished in this temporal world. Their views have gotten them into tangles more than once with other branches of the Primitive Baptists.
“My father walked six miles carrying a bucket and a pick,” said Frostburg, MD resident Howard Rees in this 1991 oral history. “The bucket was made of tin and in the bottom of the bucket was tea for lunch, and the top of the upper section of the bucket was a compartment for a couple of sandwiches or some fruit and then the lid. Inside the coal mines the temperature never varied, so the temperature that the food was as it was brought to the mines stayed the same temperature. After a short time every coal miner’s bucket smelled of the coal mines.”
On July 1, 1915, statewide prohibition went into effect in Alabama, for the second time, five years before the federal prohibition amendment was ratified under the Kilby administration. Between 1907 and 1915, all but two Southern states enacted prohibition laws. But Prohibition was a bitter issue in Alabama politics.
We’ll wrap things up with a look at the tensions between the English and the Cherokee that contributed to the French & Indian War of the 1750s. “The cruel depredations and ravages committed by the Indians after General Braddock’s defeat had induced government to offer a considerable premium for every scalp of a hostile Indian, that should be brought in by any of our rangers,” explains Andrew Burnaby in Travels through the middle settlements in North America. “This unfortunately opened a door, and gave occasion to many acts of enormity; for some of the back-settlers, men of bad lives and worse principles, tempted by the reward, insidiously massacred several of our friendly Indians, and afterwards endeavored to defraud government of the reward, by pretending that they were the scalps of hostile tribes.”
And, thanks to the good folks at the Appalachian Center Collection, Berea College Southern Appalachian Archives, we’ll be able to enjoy some authentic Appalachian music by Tommy Hunter in a 1976 recording of Wilson’s Hornpipe.
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.