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 of “The Great Train Robbery” of the Baltimore & Ohio. The railroad holdup made headlines worldwide on March 10, 1949. It was an event reminiscent of Wild West days, and it seized the imagination of reporters on newspapers across the US. B&O employee Bill Taylor, who was working at the Martinsburg, WV train station the night of the robbery, shares his version of the tale.
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.
Have you ever had to take the fall because you crossed swords with a higher up you caught doing wrong? Did they ever fire a gun directly at you? Did they send minions to ransack your home in the middle of the night? William Henry Jenkins’ family had to endure every one of these things all because his dad volunteered to be a deputy sheriff in Norton, VA.
Dan Pierce, author of the newly published Corn From a Jar, told an interviewer last week that his goal with the book was to seek out “the humanity of people making moonshine, who were generally looking for ways to support their families, hold on to their farms, and stay out of the mills and mines.” Mark Lynn Ferguson, who runs the site The Revivalist: Word from the Appalachian South, gets the discussion rolling.
We’ll wrap things up with a look at one of Alabama’s natural wonders. Jackson County has the highest concentration of caves, springs and sinkholes of any county in the United States. Tucked in among the Paint Rock River watershed’s underground splendor is one of Appalachia’s most magnificent canyons, a 150-foot-wide bowl-shaped natural amphitheater that sits between 200-foot-tall limestone walls.
And, thanks to the good folks at the Internet 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.