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 Chuck Yeager’s famous October 1947 flight that broke the sound barrier. The West Virginian piloted his Bell X-1A above the California desert at Muroc Dry Lake Bed. “We just didn’t know what would happen when we reached the speed of sound,” he said in later years, “because we didn’t have any wind tunnel data. People really just didn’t know. It was ignorance. They thought that an airplane would never go faster than sound, because of the shock waves that built up on it. But that really didn’t make any difference to me. I could care less. It’s your job to try it. And that’s the way it worked out.”
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.
Barbara Oakley Hayes was 2 years old when “the rains started, continuing for days on end.” Her family had just moved to Oakdale, TN to a house along the banks of the Emory River. “The hills and mountain streams poured forth to swell the river far beyond its normal boundary,” she says. “It was March 23, 1929 and nothing in the path of the rising Emory River was safe.”
Next, we’ll delve into the tale of a murderous vigilante from Wise County, VA. “Dr. Marshall B. Taylor was a sturdy, farm-bred lad, descended from an honorable family; a quiet and studious youth; a brave and generous comrade in arms; a physician with a practice covering almost the territory of an entire county; a United States officer, zealous and faithful; and, at last, a criminal of refined cruelty.”
We’ll wrap things up with an oral history from Ireland Everett Layne, who was born 1919 in Coon Creek, KY. In this segment, he talks about harvest time on the hilly 80-acre family farm. “Pa was a great hand to set out fruit trees, so naturally he had an apple orchard,” Layne says. “When apples were ripe, they would peel a couple of bushels at night by kerosene lamplight, then they would work them up the next day.”
And, thanks to the good folks of the Appalachian Center Collection, Berea College Southern Appalachian Archives, we’ll be able to enjoy some authentic Appalachian hammered dulcimer music by John McCutcheon & Wry Straw in a 1978 recording of Mississippi Sawyer.
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.