Monthly Archives: January 2014

Every time I attempted to start, my new horse would commence to kick

“When I was seven or eight years of age, I began hauling all the wood used in the house and shops. I could not load it on the wagons, of course, at that time, but I could drive, and the choppers would load, and some one at the house unload. “When about eleven years old, […]


Listen Here: Appalachian History Weekly podcast posts today

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 Winans, co-curator of an upcoming exhibit on the early history of the banjo […]


All the machinery stopped and the lights went out

Before the days of T.V.A. and large power companies, electricity was supplied to rural areas by such imaginative and pioneering men as Arthur Abernathy Miller. In 1925, Miller, a brilliant self-educated electrical engineer, built the first hydroelectric dam in north Alabama — the DeSoto dam in Ft Payne, AL. Miller had furnished electrical power for […]


Belonging: on creating a sense of place

Please welcome guest author Cat Pleska. Pleska is a sixth generation West Virginian. She is a regular writer for Wonderful West Virginia magazine and is an essayist on West Virginia Public Radio, with 40 essays aired since 2007. She teaches English/writing at West Virginia State University. The following essay was featured on the January 4 […]


Making Music: The Banjo, Baltimore, and Beyond

The banjo is frequently associated with Appalachia, appropriately in some regards, but many people still believe, wrongly, that the banjo originated there. Thomas Jefferson, in Notes on the State of Virginia (1781), correctly pointed out that the banjo had its roots in Africa: “The instrument proper to them [enslaved African Americans] is the Banjar, which they brought hither from Africa.”

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