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 a guest piece by Emily Kale on the origin of the curiously named byway known as Nellie’s Cave Road. “Living in Blacksburg for 15 years now, I have driven up Nellie’s Cave Road many times,” says the Virginia Tech based writer. “But I always wondered about this elusive cave. I asked everyone in the neighborhood, ‘Is there a cave, is there really a cave?’ yet nobody seemed to know.” And who was Nellie?
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 reviewer Tricia Fulks investigates the newly published book of essays Shake Terribly the Earth: Stories from an Appalachian Family, by Sarah Beth Childers. “I felt as if I had become a part of the pack,” she says of the memoir, “sitting amongst her and her siblings learning of PaPa Ralph’s time as a train engineer in Southern West Virginia, hearing one of Grandpa Elwood’s grand stories or living through one of Granny’s outbursts.”
“The hunter’s wife had that day killed their chief, the Yellow Rattlesnake,” goes the Cherokee tale ‘The Rattlesnake’s Vengeance’, “and they were just now about to send the Black Rattlesnake to take revenge.” Ethnologist James Mooney gathered this story and published it in a 1900 collection titled Myths of the Cherokee.
We’ll wrap things up with an oral history from one Joseph Mills Sapp, of Knoxville, OH, who was born in 1893. “I remember many a winter night when I was small,” he says, “that Father and I would take the lantern and go check on the sheep. Perhaps a new lamb, or perhaps twins, had just been born, so we would quickly wrap them up in a feed sack, put it in a bushel basket, hurry back to the house, and get it out in front of the old coal grate fire.”
And thanks to the good folks at the Internet Archive, we’ll be able to enjoy some authentic Appalachian music from Grayson & Whitter in a 1929 recording of What You Gonna Do With The Baby?
So call your old Plott hound up on the porch, fire up your corncob pipe, and settle in for a dose of Appalachian history.