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 a column by Chattanooga journalist Emma Bell Miles. From April – June 1914 Miles wrote “Fountain Square Conversations,” a weekly editorial for The Chattanooga News. The “Conversations” cleverly combined her naturalist’s knowledge and her social commentary. In this piece, ‘Survival of the Fittest,’ Miles examines the delicate balance between a growing population and a limited food supply. “The reckless exhaustion of the soil is helping forward the day of reckoning,” she warns.
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.
The Cherokee name Jocassee means “Place of the Lost One,” and what a fitting description that is for the South Carolina lake that bears its name, and for its sister lake, Lake Keowee. In 1974, Duke Energy Corporation finished construction of the Oconee Nuclear Station on the Keowee River in Oconee County, SC. The construction project included these two man-made lakes.
The poet who penned “the fog comes in on little cats’ feet” moved to western North Carolina for the sake of the little goats’ feet. Pulitzer Prize winner Carl Sandburg and his wife Paula had lived for 17 years on Chicago’s foggy shores by Lake Michigan, but left it all behind in 1945. Flat Rock, NC, twenty-four miles south of Asheville, offered greener pastures and a longer browsing season for their Chikaming goat herd.
Next, we’ll examine the tale of how Aaron Burr, former Vice President of the United States, hatched a plan to form a new country fashioned from the Louisiana Purchase territories. He also proposed to conquer Texas and the rest of Mexico to add to this western nation. Burr and his followers planned to head down the Mississippi to New Orleans to confer with James Wilkinson, the U.S. Army’s ranking general and one of Burr’s oldest friends. Wilkinson almost went along with the treasonous plan.
We’ll wrap things up a selection from a 1943 South Carolina memoir titled Red Hills and Cotton, an Upcountry Memory. “We discussed ultimate destinies — the asylum, the poorhouse, the graveyard, the jail,” says author Ben Robertson. “We considered chance and the power of faith over chance, and how strange and hidden was chance. We were caught by it like fish in nets and like birds snared in traps. And the race in our valley no more went to the swift than it had in Ecclesiastes, nor did the battle go to the strong, nor did riches come to men of understanding. When our time would arrive, it would arrive.”
And, thanks to the good folks at the Digital Archive we’ll be able to enjoy some authentic Appalachian music by Jimmy Smith in a 1926 recording of Mountain Blues.
So, call your old Plott hound up on the porch, fire up your corncob pipe, and settle in for a dose of Appalachian History.