Charlotte-based Coca-Cola Consolidated is the largest independent Coca-Cola bottler in the US, and we do business in 11 states stretching from Mississippi to West Virginia. We asked our family of 6,000 employees to help us identify ghost signs in the communities we have served since our company was founded in 1902. We discovered lots of Coca-Cola ghost signs and have partnered with elected officials and community leaders in a growing number of communities to restore these beloved wall murals. The list includes two signs in North Wilkesboro, NC; two ghost signs in Mebane, NC; a massive wall mural in Hendersonville, NC; and several signs in Roanoke, VA among others.
To celebrate each sign repainting, we have held community ribbon-cutting events. The outpouring of support has been truly humbling. Large crowds have come to each event, with old-timers sharing their stories of what the sign meant to the town before it faded into an almost unrecognizable ghost sign. We have learned that these signs are much more than an advertisement painted on a wall. They are an important part of the community. We are very glad that the refurbishing of these ghost signs often serves as a kick-start for downtown revitalization efforts.
As a professional writer and personal biographer, I had the idea to write a social history of my childhood home. I originally intended to write about other women, not myself. I planned to interview older women about their lives on mountain farms, about gardening and canning and cooking, about raising children and playing music and “living out” in mountain hollers—to capture a way of life and a body of knowledge that had pretty much disappeared in a single generation. I did some interviews, and I did a lot of reading about West Virginia history.
Then I started to write. And a different story began to tell itself. I found I kept writing about my own life and family and how my experiences in Elkins shaped the independent woman I became. I also wrote about my best friend, Lisa, whose family had lived in West Virginia for centuries before she moved away after college. I wrote scenes from our high school years and present-day stories about our work lives and love lives and trips back home to drive the mountain roads and eat beans and cornbread.
Liberty Mountain is told in the lives of the frontier families who settled the Carolinas in the early days of American history. They were predominantly Scots-Irish Presbyterians, immigrants from Northern Ireland who came with a chip on their shoulder, victims of hardship and poverty they blamed on British landowners.
Thousands moved to America, many of them to the Carolinas, in hopes of building new lives, raising families, worshiping as they pleased.
Many held strong allegiances to King and Crown, many supported the drive for an independent America. But many were content to just be left alone. It was not to be.
In May, 1780, it appeared the British southern strategy was working splendidly. Charleston had fallen and three thousand Continental troops had surrendered. Another huge defeat followed at Camden, and by now, there was no such thing as a Continental Army in the south. The British commander, Lord Cornwallis, reported to London that South Carolina was firmly in his hands, that Patriot resistance was crushed, that Loyalists were flocking to the King’s cause.
By October, it had all turned to dust.
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 Robert Inman. “Historians agree that the Battle of King’s Mountain was the turning point […]
My great-great grandparents, Mack & Caroline Saxon [shown on the book cover], were some of the richest people, black or white, in this region at that time. Not only did they race horses, they owned over a dozen businesses including a fairground, built a Julius Rosenwald school and Mount Carmel AME Church, had sharecroppers and servants, and have a surprising connection to the Kennedy family. What was supposed to be a 25-50 page pamphlet to be given out at reunions about the family history, has become a historical account called Black Blue Bloods — Legacy of an African American Plantation Owner.