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 the story behind a miscalculated state boundary line. James Camak started his career as a professor at University of Georgia, left to make a fortune in banking, and went on to become president of Georgia’s first railroad company. One thing he was not, though, was an accurate surveyor. In 1818, early in his career, he was appointed by the state to help survey the boundary line between Georgia and Tennessee. He botched the job. Twice.
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.
If you enjoyed the Paul Bunyan tall tales as a child, you can thank an oilman by the name of Gib Morgan. Gib Morgan (1842-1909) was a tool dresser, driller, roustabout and pipeline laborer. He was never a rich man, he never owned an oil company, he could hardly be considered important at all, except for one thing. Gib Morgan was a brilliant storyteller.
“At the first call of the robin in the spring,” says Jean Thomas in her 1942 book American Folkways: Blue Ridge Country, “Aunt Emmie on Honey Camp Run, in clean starched apron and calico frock, dragged her rocker to the front stoop of her little house and there she sat for hours rocking contentedly while her nimble fingers moved swiftly with crochet needle and thread.”
We’ll wrap things up with an examination of two intertwined families in Valle Crucis, NC, and how their respective family stores shaped a community. Partisan politics certainly played a role. The Valle Crucis Company, operated by the Republican Farthings, initially served as the Valle Crucis post office because Republicans were in office when a post office was first called for. However, the Mast General Store took over as the Valle Crucis post office when the Democrats came into power.
And, thanks to the good folks at the Internet Archive, we’ll be able to enjoy some authentic Appalachian music by Henry C Gilliland and A C (Eck) Robertson in a 1922 recording of Arkansaw [sic] Traveler.
So, call your old Plott hound up on the porch, fire up your corncob pipe, and settle in for a dose of Appalachian History.