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 David T. Gleeson. Gleeson recently published The Green & the Gray: The Irish in the Confederate States of America. “The Georgia mountains were a major source of dissent against the Confederacy,” he says. “Union men in Gordon County, for example, apparently threatened Confederates that ‘in case of insurrection they would help the negroes,’ while a Confederate from Hog Mountain in Gwinnett County lamented that he lived in the ‘most Union part of the state.’ The Scots-Irish heartland in Georgia, it seems, was not so Confederate.”
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.
“Back in the first decade of the 20th century,” says Kentucky newspaperman Larry Caudill in a 1965 article from The Mountain Eagle, “the grandmothers of us mountaineers were apt to believe that such frivolities as dancing, card-playing and banjo picking were erosive of character if not downright sinful—wasters of time, which could better be put to useful work. So she didn’t allow such capers around her home.” Turns out the grandson who lived with her adored the banjo. Trouble could only ensue.
Georgia State University student Linda Mitchell conducted a 1968 interview in Red Top Mountain, GA, with “R.E. Faulkner, Mrs. Turner, Reverend Cox, and William ‘Pap’ Bailey.” “Did you ever run into any ghosts?” she wants to know of her subjects. Two of her interviewees promptly compete to out-tell the widely known tale Fat or Lean?
We’ll wrap things up with a ghost story from the files of WV folklorist/educator Ruth Ann Musick titled The Girl who had been in an Accident. “Since I came to West Virginia in 1952,” she says, “I have collected over a hundred ghost stories. The ‘hitch-hiking girl’ seems to be especially popular. John Jacob Niles has a particularly dramatic version of this, and I have three versions from West Virginia contributors.”
And, thanks to the good folks at the Internet Archive we’ll be able to enjoy some authentic Appalachian music from Al Hopkins and his Buckle Busters in a 1926 recording of Long Eared Mule.
So, call your old Plott hound up on the porch, fire up your corncob pipe, and settle in for a dose of Appalachian History.