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 guest author Denise Smith. Smith lives in Rocky Gap, VA, as have 11 generations of her ancestors. She holds a BA in history from Emory & Henry College, and before retiring served as the Museums Program Coordinator for Wolf Creek Indian Village & Museum in Bastian, VA. “Many mountain folk are cautious about the moonshiner tales,” she says, noting resentment towards Hollywood’s stereotype of ignorant backwoods hooligans making shine. “But moonshine was a business occupation, and the stereotype of lawless disregard doesn’t fit my family, though the occupation was one very entrenched in our family history.”
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.
Dr. William Glass of Sissonville, WV braved snowstorms, muddy roads and flooded river crossings to ride by horseback up into the hollers to reach his patients. In this oral history segment he shares some harrowing incidents where he and his horse were nearly swept away and drowned.
We’ll wrap things up with an excerpt from the divorce case between Walter E. McDaniels and Anna C. McDaniels, filed in Knox County [TN] Fourth Circuit Court in July 1926. Divorce filings might on first glimpse seem to be a dry source to examine for broader social mores, but this one holds some telling surprises. “The defendant shows plainly that she is an Italian,” states the plaintiff, “is possessed of a wicked and malignant heart and that she is fatally bent on mischief, and is unforgiving, like most of foreigners.”
And, thanks to the good folks at the Digital Library of Appalachia we’ll be able to enjoy some authentic Appalachian music by Don Pedi and Tad Wright in a 1979 recording of the traditional fiddle tune Bonaparte Crossing the Alps.
So, call your old Plott hound up on the porch, fire up your corncob pipe, and settle in for a dose of Appalachian History.