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 look at a new quilt exhibit that recently opened at Museum of the Middle Appalachians in Saltville, VA. “The 118 quilts on display in Appalachian Heritage Quilts include old and new, simple and intricate,” says co-curator June Totten. “The oldest quilt has the date of 1826 stitched in it and the newest quilt was completed in March of 2014. Each quilt and each creator has a story. Each piece is beautiful in its own way – age, color, design or simplicity. Whether a warmer for cold nights or naps – quilts are a record of families and their history.”
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.
Baseball Hall of Famer Lefty Grove was Lonaconing, Maryland’s favorite son. He earned a spot on Major League Baseball’s All Century team and is rated by the Sporting News as the 2nd greatest left-handed pitcher of all time. His father and older brothers preceded him into the Lonaconing coal mines, but a 15 year old Lefty quit after two weeks, saying, “Dad, I didn’t put that coal in here, and I hope I don’t have to take no more of her out.”
Susan Shepherd took over the MM Shepherd Store in Hendersonville, NC, in 1929. “During the years of the Great Depression,” says Hendersonville newspaper columnist Louise Bailey, “there were times Mrs. Shepherd didn’t collect enough money in the course of a day to bother locking it in the cash register overnight, and certainly not in the store’s huge metal safe. Instead, she secreted it underneath a pile of merchandise. In many cases she was obliged to give credit, and bills were never sent, for she knew the people would pay when and in what manner they could.”
The decision of a county to change its county seat doesn’t seem like front page news. But let’s peek in on a late nineteenth century power struggle set in Randolph County WV. Timber rich, today much of it is in the Monongahela National Forest. And that wealth of natural resources set the stage for the Courthouse War of the 1890s between the towns of Beverly and Elkins.
We’ll wrap things up with the wrenching story of Thomas Jugarthy Hicks. From 1951 to 1965 Dr. Hicks began to quietly offer babies for adoption from his Hicks Community Clinic in McCaysville, GA. Quietly, because the clinic he’d been running since the mid-1940s was not a licensed adoption agency.
And thanks to the good folks at the Blue Ridge Archives at Ferrum College, we’ll be able to enjoy some authentic Appalachian music from the Dixie Playboys in a 1940s recording of Cumberland Gap.
So call your old Plott hound up on the porch, fire up your corncob pipe, and settle in for a dose of Appalachian history.