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 an excerpt from Ulysses S. Grant’s memoir. Grant, the 18th U.S. President and Union general-in-chief during the Civil War, grew up in Georgetown, OH, the son of an Ohio tanner. After retiring from the Presidency, Grant became a partner in a financial firm, which went bankrupt. About that time he learned that he had throat cancer. He started writing his recollections to pay off his debts and provide for his family, racing against death to produce a memoir that ultimately earned his family nearly $450,000.
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.
Daniel Boone. Clara Barton. Thomas Edison. Amelia Earhart. Pick just about any well-known American hero/heroine, and the first thing that comes to mind is what singular individuals each of them were, standing head and shoulder above the conformist herd of their day. American culture has always pushed its young citizens to pursue excellence as individuals. Today’s book review examines Aaron Barlow’s recently published book The Cult of Individualism.
In 1925, Floyd Collins, one of the world’s premier cavers, met a tragic and bizarre end in part of what is now known to be Mammoth Cave. Collins, determined to find a “show” cave as a source of family income, had signed a contract in the middle of January with a man named Doyle and another man named Ed Estes to explore a rock overhang called Sand Cave on Doyle’s farm.
We’ll wrap things up with a Depression era tale from the Virginia Writers’ Project. “A family moved into Franklin County about thirty years ago,” begins Raymond Sloan, “or rather, ‘appeared’ in Franklin County, settling in a little cabin on a farm near the foothills of the Blue Ridge in the western section of the county. No one seemed to know where they might have come from. Evidently just wanderers, Montague Moore and his wife, known only as ‘Duck,’ were a peculiar acting couple.
And thanks to the good folks at the Internet Archive, we’ll be able to enjoy some authentic Appalachian music from J. E. Mainer’s Mountaineers in a 1935 recording of Let Her Go God Bless Her.
So call your old Plott hound up on the porch, fire up your corncob pipe, and settle in for a dose of Appalachian history.