Monthly Archives: August 2014

New Historical Marker Marks Graves of 2 in Hatfield-McCoy Feud

The Kentucky Historical Society will unveil a new historical marker today at a cemetery with ties to the Hatfield-McCoy feud. The marker tells about Nancy McCoy Phillips and her husband, Frank Phillips. The 4 p.m. unveiling will be in Phillips Cemetery, 899 Phillips Branch Road, Phelps. One side of the marker notes that Frank Phillips […]

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App State Project Archivist Shares Thoughts on His Early Career

The following piece by Trevor McKenzie appeared August 20 on Annotation: the National Historical Publications and Records Commission blog. McKenzie is the Project Archivist for the W. L. Eury Appalachian Collection, Appalachian State Special Collections and Archives. The article is reposted here with permission.   When I came to work as the Project Archives Assistant […]

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Book Excerpt: ‘Lost at Thaxton’

I did not know much about Tandy. In fact, I really knew only one piece of information my grandmother had told me. He was a railroad section master for Norfolk & Western in Thaxton, whatever that meant. Little did I know that Tandy’s chosen occupation would lead me to spend the better part of two years researching and writing Lost at Thaxton.

It started one summer evening in 2011 while on a beach trip with family. The discussion turned to history, as it often does when I get a chance to steer it that way, and at some point someone mentioned a terrible train wreck at Thaxton. Tandy was in charge of the section of rail where the accident took place, but I had never heard any mention of the wreck in my lifetime. I wanted to know more about the story.

As I began to dig into the history of the wreck, I was surprised to find that there was significant loss of life, and the details of the accident were unbelievably terrifying and heartbreaking. Yet there seemed to be no particular memorializing of the wreck or of those who lost their lives that night in 1889. The wreck of passenger train Number Two at Thaxton seemed to slip away completely from the pages of history.

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‘Journey into the Wild and Wonderful’ documentary seeks to include every WV county

The one thing that I have learned in this process is that our own personal history is connected to our overall local history. It’s what gives us a sense of pride, foundation, and direction. That is why we have fairs and festivals. They are opportunities to celebrate our personal connection to our heritage and what is most important to us. As a producer of such a project, you start to understand your own personal connection to a history and a story that is greater than yourself. A project like this changes you. As it grows, you grow with it, until you become one with it. For me, when I walk into an interview, I meet a stranger. When I walk out of the room four hours later, I have a friend for life.

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