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 1951 story of a young WV teacher who unexpectedly found herself winning a statewide contest to sell the most Korean War Bonds. “Joe Fish bought the first 5,000 bonds,” explains Marjorie Ramsay. “I taught his daughters music—piano. My father didn’t even buy any! He thought I was on a wild goose chase.” As result of winning that contest, Ramsay got the chance to fly on an airplane and see Europe, two things she never thought she’d get to do.
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.
Next, guest author Jim Rada tells us about a forensic examination that more than 200 years after the fact uncovered the identities of a Western Maryland family who’d been massacred but not named. The superintendent of Catoctin Mountain Park, he says, used a land grant and compared it to landmarks cited in an eye-witness account to identify the victims as Jacob Snider, his wife, and their five children.
On January 17, 1781, American General Daniel Morgan scored a stunning victory over British Lieutenant Colonel Banastre Tarleton’s regulars at the Battle of Cowpens, in what is now Cherokee County, SC. This win came at a crucial time for Revolutionary War patriots in the South, who had been repeatedly forced to retreat. William Seymour, a Sergeant-Major of the Delaware Regiment, recorded the event in his diary.
We’ll wrap things up with a look at the tradition of ‘laying out’ the dead. Prior to the funeral industry’s rise and its use of embalming, a practice that gained legitimacy during the War Between the States, the interior of a corpse was generally not accessible to prying eyes, hands, or medical equipment. Instead, the deceased was prepared – laid out – and remained in the home until burial.
And thanks to the good folks at the Internet Archive, we’ll be able to enjoy some authentic Appalachian music from Don Richardson in a 1916 recording of Durang’s Hornpipe.
So call your old Plott hound up on the porch, fire up your corncob pipe, and settle in for a dose of Appalachian history.