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 delightful excerpt from Kentuckian Verna Mae Slone’s 1979 autobiography What My Heart Wants to Tell. “Kitteneye, are ye goin’ to marry Jane Hughes?” Sarah’s mother exclaimed. Slone (1914-2009) goes on to relate the story of how her father Isom ‘Kitteneye’ Slone instead proposed to her mother, Sarah Owens Slone.
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.
Frances Benjamin Johnston transcended both regional and national notions about women’s place in the 19th century to become a pioneer in American photography and photojournalism. Born in 1864 in Grafton, WV, Johnston is best known as a crusader with her camera for the historic preservation of the Old South.
On March 25, 1931, local authorities in Paint Rock, AL arrested nine black youths on a freight train after receiving word about a fight between blacks and whites on the train. They discovered two white women dressed in men’s overalls on the same train and subsequently charged the nine young men with rape. But something about the women’s testimonies in court didn’t add up.
Next, we’ll investigate the rise of Seneca, SC. If you walk down West South 1st St from the Seneca Presbyterian Church to Poplar St you’ll be smack in the middle of “Silk-Stocking Hill.” Six of its houses were built by the Gignilliat family. George Warren Gignilliat (1853-1926) and his brothers were among the pioneer merchants who came to Seneca and made large contributions to the development of the town. He’s one of the owners of the Seneca Oil Mill & Fertilizer Co. He also started Charles N. Gignilliat & Sons, Cotton Merchants, based in Seneca and Spartanburg.
We’ll wrap things up a Cherokee folktale titled “How the Partridge got his Whistle.” As the story opens, it’s the Terrapin, not the Partridge, who whistles so beautifully. The Partridge begs and begs the Terrapin to let him borrow his whistling ability—only for a short while, then he’ll give it right back. Well. We all know what happens when you lend something to someone who says that.
And, thanks to the good folks at the Internet Archive, we’ll be able to enjoy some authentic Appalachian music by Kelly Harrell in a 1925 recording of New River Train.
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.