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 an ode to black raspberry season. It’s July. Hottest, most humid month of the year. So put on your highest boots, long pants, and a long shirt, and head for the woods. Because you’re not going to find those sweet sweet black raspberry delights any other way (oh, I guess you could plant a couple of rows in the garden, but where’s the adventure in that?)
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.
Small marble quarries had been active in north Georgia since the discovery in the 1830’s of the rare, bright pink marble that the area is famous for. But under the 3-generation dynasty of the Tate family, the Georgia Marble Company, begun in 1884, rose to monopoly status. Georgia Marble Company stone can be found in monuments and public buildings around the world, including New York’s Stock Exchange annex, the Cleveland Federal Reserve Bank, the Lincoln Memorial and the twenty-four columns of the east front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.
“We have canned 113 cans of corn and several beans,” says Tuxedo, NC farmer M.L. Lewis in a 1933 letter to his mother currently in the collection of the Tennessee GenWeb Project. “We have a pressure cooker and a can sealer. We used tin cans for our corn. We have about 600 qts. in all canned.”
Tennessean George W. Christians, chief officer of the fascist Crusader White Shirts, was an odd combination of comedian and sinister revolutionist. “Does our Commander in Chief have ideas,” he asked, “or is he just the world’s greatest humbug?” In another handbill, Christians wrote of President Franklin Roosevelt: “Some neck—for a rope.” He was characterized by one-time FDR braintruster Raymond Moley as a ‘harmless lunatic.’
We’ll wrap things up with an oral history from Betty Lester, who served as a practicing nurse midwife at the Frontier Nursing Service, in Wendover, KY, beginning in 1928. “There’s one [memory of working for the Frontier Nursing Service] that really does stand out rather a lot,” she tells us. “We weren’t supposed to go outside the five mile limit. That was our limit. We weren’t supposed to go a step beyond that. Well, I was at Bull Creek one clinic day, and this woman came to register, and I asked her all the various questions. Then I asked her where she lived and she told me she lived over on Big Creek. “Oh, my goodness,” I said, “I can’t come to . . . I can’t take you there. You’ll have to come into the hospital to have your baby.” Well, tears came into her eyes. ‘I can’t go to the hospital,’ she said.”
And, thanks to the good folks at the Internet Archive, we’ll be able to enjoy some authentic Appalachian music by Blind Alfred Reed in a 1927 recording of Why Do You Bob Your Hair, Girls?
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.