Monthly Archives: March 2016

I sing behind the plough!

When the times are out of joint everywhere, we cannot hope to be normal in the mountain country; we can only do the best we can to meet the situation while at the same time we lay deeper foundations for the future. Two aspects of the depression are, however, important to keep in mind. Whatever […]


The King of Stink

Ramps are the first green thing of spring in Appalachia, and certainly the smelliest. Mountain folks have traditionally looked forward to the return of the ramp after a winter of eating mostly dried foods, often believing the ramp to possess the revitalizing power of a spring tonic (not unreasonable: they are high in vitamins A […]


The dust-choked air of the Hawk’s Nest Tunnel dig

Built during the Depression, the Hawk’s Nest tunnel and dam project is a marvel. More than 80 years after the tunnel was completed and the power plant went online, they continue to generate electricity. But a historical marker near an overlook above Hawk’s Nest Dam says “109 admitted deaths” resulted from the tunneling that began in 1930, though it doesn’t say who admitted the dying. The marker also says a congressional hearing confirmed 476 deaths from the tunnel by 1935. Martin Cherniack, a doctor and a professor of medicine at University of Connecticut Health Center who wrote the first serious examination of the project, discounts both of those numbers. In The Hawk’s Nest Incident: America’s Worst Industrial Disaster, Chernicack estimated that at least 764 workers died because of working in the tunnel – and Cherniack made it clear he believes that is a very conservative estimate.


Nurses who are glad to serve & who do not count too closely the hours of service

Frances L. Goodrich was a Presbyterian missionary and teacher from Binghamton, NY, who came to Madison County, NC in the autumn of 1890. She’s responsible for getting the White Rock Hospital (originally Laurel Hospital) built in Marshall in the early years of the 20th century. It was a major accomplishment for that time. Goodrich was […]


Expecting a visit from the Easter Bunny shortly?

Bunny is derived from the old or Middle English root word “bun” and describes a rabbit, a young one in particular. Rabbits are small furry mammals that belong to the order Lagomorpha. If you happen upon a rabbit in the wilderness of Appalachia, it will definitely have come from the Leporidae family, and will usually […]

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