Monthly Archives: June 2015

The curse of Milk Sickness, part 1 of 2

Variously described as the trembles, the slows, or the illness “under which man turns sick and his domestic animals tremble,” milk sickness was a frequent 19th century cause of illness and death throughout much of Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, and Ohio (also Indiana, Illinois, and Michigan). It sometimes killed as many as half the people […]

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The unsolved murder of Mamie Thurman

On June 22, 1932, her lifeless body was found where it had been dumped on 22 Mountain, which was then called Trace Mountain. She had been savagely murdered: shot in the head twice, neck fractured, face disfigured and powder-burned, throat cut from ear to ear. Garland Davis, a young deaf-mute, stumbled upon the gruesome scene […]

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The Ashe County WWI deserters

The vast majority of the 86,000 North Carolinians called into service during World War I served willingly, but four thousand of their number did desert during the war. Discontentment with conditions in training camp or bad news from home was the most likely reason for young recruits to go “AWOL” (absent without leave) long enough […]

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June bride? Time for a shivaree!

Shivaree was a nineteenth and early twentieth century Appalachian custom (originally dating back to sixteenth-century France) of teasing a married couple on their wedding night or shortly thereafter. The bride was carried around in a tub at times, and the groom was ridden on a rail. In Tennessee the custom was more commonly called serenading, […]

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The Siamese Twins at home in Mt. Airy

(original spellings have been kept from the following narrative  –ed.) In the year 1843, an occurrence took place of not a little importance to the subjects of this narrative.  For some time previous they had been admirers of a couple of amiable and interesting sisters, the daughters of Mr. Daniel Yeats, who resided six miles […]

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