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 the origins of the Mother’s Day holiday. A 1948 article in Grafton, WV’s Grafton Daily Sentinel highlights the efforts of Ann Reeves Jarvis and her daughter Anna in making the holiday a reality. “The mother was the real creator of the day through her church work. The daughter got the idea of extending the service from Grafton to the world and spent many years in contacting the proper people, anticipating that the day would be founded on the world’s most beautiful sentiment.
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.
Hemlocks provide valuable ecosystem services in Appalachian forests, including cover for wildlife and cooling shade along waterways. But they are being killed in increasing numbers by an exotic invasive insect, the hemlock woolly adelgid. Native to Asia, the hemlock woolly adelgid is transported through forests by animals, wind and, accidentally, by people. The U.S. Forest Service is using new satellite tools to fight the problem.
The White Caps, of Sevier County, TN, was a vigilante group formed in approximately 1892 by citizens who wished to rid the county of individuals (mostly women) whom they deemed lewd or adulterous. Their modus operandi was to leave the offending party a note signed “White Caps,” occasionally accompanied by hickory switches, warning them to leave town. If this tactic proved ineffective, the group escalated to whippings. In 1896 a cold blooded murder by two White Cappers finally brought the law down upon them.
We’ll wrap things up with an oral history from Bowling Green, KY genealogist Glenna Vickers Burton. “Conley delivered the mail on horseback from Travelers Rest to Wild Dog and places in-between and beyond,” Burton tells us about life in Travelers Rest, KY during the 1930s & 40s. “He started delivering mail after his return from WWI. Sometimes he delivered groceries from our store or Aunt Sarah’s, when one of his patrons was out of meal or sugar or some other staple item. Many times he was paid for the extra service with a pint of moonshine. But no one ever saw him drink this or any other form of alcohol. He probably gave it to someone who liked moonshine. I bet, if the truth was known, he gave some of that stuff to Sigsbee Scott, our Travelers Rest postmaster.”
And thanks to the good folks at County Records, we’ll be able to enjoy some authentic Appalachian music from Clarence Ashley in a 1929 recording of Little Sadie.
So call your old Plott hound up on the porch, fire up your corncob pipe, and settle in for a dose of Appalachian history.