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 the newly published book Betty Hornbeck’s Whirligig Stories – Tales of the Sixties in a West Virginia Town. From 1959 thru 1970, Betty Hornbeck wrote a weekly front-page column for the Republican-Delta newspaper in Buckhannon, WV entitled “West Virginia Whirligig.” She discussed everything from city growth statistics, to family life, to national politics, to any number of issues that she felt should be brought to the attention of her readership.
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.
From April – June 1914 The Chattanooga News paid Emma Bell Miles $9.00 a week to write “Fountain Square Conversations.” The “Conversations” cleverly combined her naturalist’s knowledge and her social commentary. They featured birds and other creatures on the square conversing under the shadows of the human statues. Here’s a column titled Gossip.
Madison County, KY native Frances Estill Beauchamp (1857-1923) spearheaded the late nineteenth century antiliquor crusade in Kentucky and was a leading figure in the temperance movement nationwide. “We mean death to the distillery and the brewery,” she thundered in this 1911 editorial from The American Advance, “and on the way to that end we will lend a hand to put out of commission all their retail agents.”
For most of his pastoring career, Howard Finster supplemented the meager income his North Georgia churches provided by traveling the countryside as a roving evangelist, working as a handyman, repairing small engines and bicycles, and holding down jobs in the textile mills. It’s surprising enough that he could find any time away from his demanding schedule and responsibilities of keeping his wife and five children fed, clothed, and sheltered. Even more surprising is what he chose to do with that spare time.
We’ll wrap things up with a 1979 oral history of Asheville, NC architect Anthony Lord (1900-1993). “[My father] started one trend that horrified all the old friends,” Lord tells us. “He put the kitchen on the front of the house. This was a thing unknown, inconceivable to the local populous. You didn’t put the kitchen on the front of the house.”
And thanks to the good folks at Berea College’s Southern Appalachian Archives, we’ll be able to enjoy some authentic Appalachian music from Henry Hurley in a 1973 recording of Cannonball Blues.
So call your old Plott hound up on the porch, fire up your corncob pipe, and settle in for a dose of Appalachian history.