We post a new episode of Appalachian History weekly podcast every Sunday. Check us out on the Stitcher network, available on mobile phones, in-car dashboards and tablets worldwide. Share the show with friends via automatic Facebook Timeline integration and with one-click Twitter, Facebook and email icons. Just click the icon below to start listening:
We open today’s show with a look at an Appalachian folk tale titled As Meat Loves Salt. “Which of you shall we say doth love us most?” asks King Lear of his three daughters at the opening of Shakespeare’s tragedy. The King Lear story, though not identified as such, made its way into the oral folk tradition of Appalachia via Scots Irish settlers who had heard the original in the British Isles. Mid-20th century teacher, folklorist and storyteller Richard Chase was one of the first to transcribe and publish an Appalachian version. The tale, as told to him by a seventh grade student in Wise County, VA, appeared in Grandfather Tales (1948).
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.
Melville Davisson Post’s third book Dwellers in the Hills (1901) is a romance of the old West Virginia cattle country in which his youth was passed. Based on his experiences as a child, the novel tells the story of three young West Virginians who take on a contract to drive a herd of cattle across the state in a limited amount of time. “There is caught in his style as by some witchery the dreamy alluring atmosphere of the green sod, the bright rivers and the haze of the hills,” said one reviewer of the book.
Next, we’ll explore the story of the Carter family of Stony Creek, VA. For generations, beginning with John Ray Carter, Jr. in the early 19th century, their family store was a pillar of Scott County. It was the place where locals could find out how the neighbors were getting along, find out who was sick, who had been in an accident, who had died, who had got married, who had a new baby. Glenn Carter carried the tradition right on up to the end of the 20th century.
We’ll wrap things up with a story of his early school days told by folk hero Davy Crockett, from his 1834 autobiography. “My father called on me to know why I had not been at school. I told him I was afraid to go, and that the master would whip me, for I knew quite well if I was turned over to the schoolmaster, I should be cooked up to a cracklin’ in little or no time. But I soon found that I was not to expect a much better fate at home; for my father told me, in a very angry manner, that he would whip me an eternal sight worse than the master if I didn’t start immediately to the school. I tried again to beg off, but nothing would do but to go to the school. Finding me rather too slow about starting, he gathered about a two year old hickory, and broke after me.”
And, thanks to the good folks at the Internet Archive, we’ll be able to enjoy some authentic Appalachian music by Henry Whitter in a 1928 recording of Lost Girl Of West Virginia.
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.