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. Just click below to start listening:
We open today’s show with an eyewitness account of the Battle of Cowpens, in what is now Cherokee County, SC. On January 17, 1781, American General Daniel Morgan scored a stunning victory over British Lieutenant Colonel Banastre Barbarous Ban Tarleton’s regulars in this engagement. The win came at a crucial time for Revolutionary War patriots in the South, who had been repeatedly forced to retreat.
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.
John Wesley Langley (R., Kentucky 10th Congressional District) resigned from Congress in January 1926, after losing an appeal to the Supreme Court of the United States to set aside his conviction on charges of conspiracy to violate the Volstead Act. He’d been caught trying to bribe a Prohibition officer and sent to the federal penitentiary in Atlanta. But this wasn’t the last time he was heard from in Congress.
Carl Freeman’s father ran a typical country store in North Carolina at the turn of the 20th century. In this 1976 magazine article, Freeman opens the old accounts books to us. The books tell quite a bit about people and the times. Changes in attitudes, customs, dress, and even the thinking of the people in a given community can be plainly detected and charted from those old transactions.
“One time Ancil Ramey— that was Ripgear’s boy— slipped and fell underneath it, but the bus was sittin’ still at the time, and he was lucky it didn’t roll back on him and maybe kill ’im,” says Margaret Adkins in her telling of riding the schoolbus from Raccoon Creek to Salt Creek, WV in the 1930s. “Sometimes we’d get stuck on Green Valley Hill, so the boys, they’d get out and help shove the bus up the hill.”
We’ll wrap things up with a look at the workings of a Civil War era salt works. Though few Civil War battles were fought there, Southwestern Virginia was critically important to the Confederacy. One reason was the salt works in Saltville, which provided the Confederacy’s main source of salt, used as a preservative for army rations. Two battles took place there in an effort to control the works.
And, thanks to the good folks at the Internet Archive, we’ll be able to enjoy some authentic Appalachian music by Fiddlin’ John Carson and His Virginia Reelers in a 1929 recording of You Gotta Let My Dog Alone.
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.