Yearly Archives: 2014

The three restless spirits of Sarah, Will, and Clem

The city of Ringgold, GA sponsors tours of its train depot each Halloween based on ‘The Legend of the Haunted Depot:’ Clem and Will Jackson grew up in Ringgold doing all the things brothers did, swimming in the Chickamauga Creek, hunting in the woods, and generally enjoying the pleasures of young men in the Old […]

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Book Excerpt: ‘Memory of a Miner’

Dad grew from child to adolescent while living in Draper. These were the years of the Great Depression (though Dad’s running joke was “I never could figure out what was so great about it!”). The Depression years were hard for Dad. He would often say, “The Democrats blamed Hoover and the Republicans blamed Roosevelt. I don’t know who it was, but somebody liked to starved me to death!”

3D Book Cover-Virtue

Necessity brought creativity, and Dad found a way to get a little money in his pocket while a Depression-era boy in Draper. A neighbor woman would frequently give Dad money to go to the store and buy her fifty cents worth of new potatoes. Dad would pocket the fifty cents and go to a nearby potato patch a man owned and stealthily dig up roughly fifty cents worth of new potatoes.

He would clean them good, put them in a “poke” and take them to the neighbor, fifty cents the richer!

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The Great Pandemic of 1918, part 2

continued… KENTUCKY: On October 6, the Kentucky State Board of Health announced the closing of “all places of amusement, schools, churches and other places of assembly.” Because they were almost certainly simply overwhelmed with combating the disease, Kentucky officials did not even report influenza cases to the U.S. Public Health Service until late October. Likewise […]

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New Documentary Film: “Earl Hamner Storyteller”

Doris and Earl Sr. strongly encouraged all the children in their growing family to excel, and Earl Jr. became interested in writing at an early age.

He was writing his numbers at the age of two and reading at four. His poem “My Dog” was published on the children’s page of the Richmond Times-Dispatch when he was six. Earl claims he knew he was going to become a writer from that day.

Schuyler was a company town, the home of The Alberene Stone Corporation, which quarried and milled soapstone. “Our town was located in that part of the Blue Ridge known as The Ragged Mountains,” says Earl. “We were six miles from Route 29, the main artery connecting the great cities of the north to the south. We reached 29 along a country road, the most beautiful stretch of rural road known to man, the Rockfish River Road.

“We lived in company-built houses and bought our goods from the company store. Schuyler had been a prosperous little village, but, when the Great Depression came, the mill closed. My father found work in Waynesboro and could only be home with his family on holidays and weekends. We missed him, and, on Fridays, even before the sun went down, my mother could be seen at the window looking down the road.”

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A People Of The Land

The link between Appalachian people and the land they call home is equally as strong and has been for centuries. Few other areas of the United States have a local population with as intimate an ecological knowledge and sense of place. However, just like the abandoned boomtowns, overgrown homesteads and diluting accents, the environment of the mountains is under threat of degradation and thus being lost to time.

There are numerous groups and entities working to preserve the culture of the region, boost tourism, improve economic conditions and conserve natural resources. Opportunities exist for partnerships, especially those unexplored for reasons such as politics or seemingly disparate mission statements. The culture fostered by the land cannot continue without the land. Skills passed down through the generations that helped folks forge a living in remote hollers are baseless if not rooted in a region with an intact rural character. Organizations must collaborate to enhance the positive influence natural resources have on communities.

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