Category Archives: Uncategorized

One of the fellows called me ‘Cyclone’

Posted by | August 10, 2015

On August 6, 1890, baseball great Cy Young pitched his first professional game against Cap Anson’s Chicago White Stockings. Anson had scouted Young while he was at Canton and rejected him as being “just another big farmer.” When Cy beat the White Stockings 8-1 and allowed only three hits, Anson strove to purchase him from Cleveland.

Over the course of his 22-year career, Young won at least 508 games (511 is the generally accepted number) and averaged more than 23 victories per season. Young set Major League records for most wins all-time, most losses all-time, most innings pitched all-time, most games started all-time, and most complete games all-time. His accomplishments and records can be attributed to his longevity, durability, and consistency.

Cy Young baseball cardDenton True Young was born on a farm in Gilmore, OH, on March 29, 1867. While pitching for the Canton (Ohio) club of the old Tri-State League in 1890, Mr. Young was nicknamed Cy. “I thought I had to show all my stuff” he recalled years later, “and I almost tore the boards off the grandstand with my fast ball. One of the fellows called me ‘Cyclone,’ but finally shortened it to ‘Cy,’ and it’s been that ever since.”

Cy Young played for the Cleveland Spiders from 1890 until 1898, spent the next two years with St. Louis, and then signed with the Boston Americans (renamed the Red Sox in 1908) in the American League. Young’s final season was 1911, which he split between the Cleveland Naps and the National League’s Boston Rustlers. Continuing to follow the game closely after retiring to his farm near Peoli, Ohio, Young felt wounded when he was passed over in the initial Hall of Fame election in 1936. The oversight was rectified the following year, however, allowing him to be among the original group of inductees in 1939.

Shortly after Young’s death on November 4, 1955, commissioner Ford Frick originated the Cy Young Award, an annual honor bestowed upon the pitcher deemed most valuable.

 

sources: memory.loc.gov/ammem/today/aug06.html
www.baseball-almanac.com/deaths/cy_young_obituary.shtml
entertainment.howstuffworks.com/cy-young-hof.htm

0 comments

August 8 is Emancipation Day. But not everywhere.

Posted by | August 7, 2015

On January 1, 1863, the Emancipation Proclamation declared that all slaves held in locations in conflict with the United States were henceforth free. Black communities in Virginia, Georgia and North Carolina have observed Emancipation Day on that day ever since. Not so elsewhere in Appalachia.

When Union soldiers took control of an area, they would, amongst other things, read the proclamation and enforce it. Because of this, various states, territories, and municipalities celebrate emancipation on the day when the law was enforced in their region.

Tennessee and Kentucky, for example, have long informally recognized August 8 as the day. As early as 1875, the African American community in the vicinity of Greene County, TN had begun to hold annual celebrations on August 8th, known as the “Eighth of August Celebration” according to local accounts in The Greeneville American. Last April Tennessee governor Phil Bredesen went a step further and signed House Bill No. 207 into law, officially recognizing August 8 as “Emancipation Day” in that state.

Emancipation Day parade in Jenkins, KY. August 8, 1924. Kentuckiana Digital Library/Kentucky Photographic Collection, 1911-1930

Emancipation Day parade in Jenkins, KY. August 8, 1924. Kentuckiana Digital Library/Kentucky Photographic Collection, 1911-1930

 

“… to honor and recognize the celebration of the action of Andrew Johnson, seventeenth president of the United States and then military governor of Tennessee, in freeing his personal slaves on August 8, 1863, and the significance of emancipation in the history of Tennessee.”

The Gallia County (Ohio) Emancipation Day Celebration, held September 22, claims itself to be the longest continuous running celebration of the kind. An Ohio Department of Development brochure provides more details: “Students were dismissed from school and people attended dressed in their very best clothes. It was conducted in a religious atmosphere. However, such fun activities as baseball, sack racing, hog calling and greasy pole climbing were also introduced to stimulate the interest and maintain the enthusiasm. Bands, famous orators, politicians, parades, dances and queen contests were also included in the celebration.”

West Virginia also recognized September 22. “At the fair grounds, ex-United States Senator B. K. Bruce, of Mississippi, will speak in the afternoon at two o’clock,” announced the Wheeling Daily Intelligencer in 1891. “Then will follow the singing by the states, forty-four girls and forty-four boys, Our Nation’s day, reading of the Proclamation by Queen of the Day, singing by William Turner’s quartette, thence to the general amusements of the day.”

In late nineteenth and early twentieth century Kentucky, Emancipation Day fairs (as in Tennessee, August 8th) were popular among the state’s black citizens. Cash prizes were awarded winners in categories from livestock and racing to music and floral display.

 

sources: www.odod.state.oh.us/cdd/ohcp/FairHousingHistory.pdf
www.kentucky.gov/kyhs/hmdb/MarkerSearch.aspx?mode=Subject&subject=3
wheeling.weirton.lib.wv.us/history/afr-am/EMAN91A.HTM

8 comments

Sody Sallyratus

Posted by | August 6, 2015

A long time ago there was an old woman and an old man and a little girl and a little boy and their pet squirrel sitting up on the fireplace. One day the old woman wanted to bake some biscuits but she needed some sody. So she sent the little boy to the store to buy some sody sallyraytus. The little boy went running down the road singing, “Sody, sody, sody sallyraytus.” He ran across the bridge and on to the store to get the sody sallyraytus. Then he went running back home. When he got to the bridge a mean old bear stuck out his head and said, “I’LL EAT YOU UP – YOU AND YOUR SODY SALLYRAYTUS!” And he swallowed the little boy – him and his sody sallyraytus.

DeLand's Saleratus Soda and Baking Powder trade card. No date. Collection Stuart A. Lassen Postcard Collection/Texas A&M University Libraries

DeLand’s Saleratus Soda and Baking Powder trade card. No date. Collection Stuart A. Lassen Postcard Collection/Texas A&M University Libraries

 

The old woman and the old man and the little girl and the pet squirrel waited and waited and waited but the little boy didn’t come back. Finally, the old woman asked the little girl to find the little boy and see what was taking him so long. The little girl went a’skipping down the road – a’skip a’skip a’askip. She skipped across the bridge and to the store. The storekeeper told her that the little boy had already been there and left, so she started a’skipping back home – a’skip a’skip a’skip. When she got to the bridge, the mean old bear stuck out his head and said, “I ATE A LITTLE BOY – HIM AND HIS SODY SALLYRAYTUS. AND I’LL EAT YOU TOO!” And she swallowed her down.

Well the old woman and the old man and the pet squirrel waited and waited and waited, but the children didn’t come back. Finally, the old woman asked the old man to go find the little boy and the little girl. He walked down the road – Karumpf! Karumpf! Karumpf! and across the bridge until he came to the store. The storekeeper told him that both the little boy and the little girl had already been there and left. “Hmmm….they must have stopped somewhere to play,” the old man thought. So he started a’walking back – Karumpf! Karumpf! Karumpf! When he got to the bridge, the mean old bear stuck out his head and said, “I ATE A LITTLE BOY – HIM AND HIS SODY SALLYRAYTUS. AND I ATE A LITTLE GIRL AND I’LL EAT YOU TOO!” And he swallowed him down.

Well, the old woman and the pet squirrel waited and waited and waited but the old man and the little boy and the little girl did not come back. So finally, the old woman went a’hunchety-hunching down the road – A’hunchety-hunchety-hunchety-hunch! She crossed the bridge and went into the store. The storekeeper told her that the old man and the little boy and the little girl had been there and left. So the old woman started back A’hunchety-hunchety-hunchety-hunch! When she got to the bridge, the mean old bear stuck out his head and said, “I ATE A LITTLE BOY – HIM AND HIS SODY SALLYRAYTUS. AND I ATE A LITTLE GIRL AND AN OLD MAN AND I’LL EAT YOU TOO!” And he swallowed her down.

1884 logo for the Arm & Hammer brand soda or saleratus. Saleratus appeared on the market in 1840, replacing pearlash as a baking ingredient to produce rising in dough. By the start of the 1860s baking soda in turn replaced it. For a short time some people called the new baking soda ‘saleratus.’ This story, then, probably dates from that period when both terms were used simultaneously: “soda/saleratus.”

1884 logo for the Arm & Hammer brand soda or saleratus. Saleratus appeared on the market in 1840, replacing pearlash as a baking ingredient to produce rising in dough. By the start of the 1860s baking soda in turn replaced it. For a short time some people called the new baking soda ‘saleratus.’ This story, then, probably dates from that period when both terms were used simultaneously: “soda/saleratus.”

Well, the pet squirrel waited and waited and waited. He was running back and forth on the fire place mantel and he was getting hungrier and hungrier. Finally, he jumped down off the fireplace and onto the floor. He shook out his tail and went a’frisking down the road – A’frisk a’frisk a’frisk a’frisk! He frisked across the bridge and into the store.

He stood up tall on his hind legs and asked the storekeeper if he had seen the little boy or the little girl or the old man or the old woman. “Yes – they’ve all been here. Surely they didn’t all stop to play.” So the squirrel stretched his tail out behind him and frisked back. When he got to the bridge, the mean old bear stuck out his head and said, ” I ATE A LITTLE BOY – HIM AND HIS SODY SALLYRAYTUS. AND I ATE A LITTLE GIRL AND AN OLD MAN AND AN OLD WOMAN AND I’LL EAT YOU TOO!”

The pet squirrel stuck his tail up in the air and chirred at the bear. By the time the mean old bear lunged at him, the pet squirrel was already halfway up a tree. The mean old bear went clamoring after him. The squirrel scurried out on a limb and the mean old bear started after him. Then the squirrel jumped onto a limb in the next tree. “SURELY IF YOU CAN MAKE IT THAT FAR ON YOUR LITTLE LEGS, I CAN MAKE IT ON MY BIG LEGS!” the bear bellowed. The mean old bear tried to jump but he didn’t quite make it. He tumbled down down down and hit the ground with a thud! As soon as he hit the ground, out came the old woman, the old man, the little girl and the little boy. The old woman looked at the little boy and said, “Well, where’s my sody sallyraytus?” “Here,” said the little boy and handed it to her.

So they all walked back to the house singing, “Sody, sody, sody sallyraytus.” When they got back, the pet squirrel climbed back up on the fireplace mantel and curled his tail around him while he watched the old woman until she took the biscuits out of the oven. They each had a biscuit – the little boy, the little girl, the old man and the old woman. The old woman broke off a piece of a biscuit and handed it to the pet squirrel. He turned it over and over in his paws and nibbled until it was gone. Then he chirred for more. He was so hungry that the old woman had to feed him pieces until he’d eaten almost two whole biscuits!

source: “Grandfather Tales,” by Richard Chase, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2015
Additional versions of the tale, see “Sody Sallyratus” or “The Bad Bear,” Appalachian Folktales and Legends, Ferrum College. Online at http://www.ferrum.edu/applit/bibs/tales/sodysal.htm

1 comments

White livered widders

Posted by | August 5, 2015

People with an abnormally strong sex drive were said to suffer from white liver. The folk medicine record contains scant information on this folk illness, because openly talking about sex was taboo in the past. The earliest and most complete description of white liver comes from Vance Randolph’s study of folk culture in the Ozarks: “When a lively, buxom, good-looking woman loses several husbands by death, it is often said that her inordinate passion has ‘killed ‘em off,’ and she is referred to as a white-livered widder.

Sexy woman reclining on rocksUsually it is only a figure of speech, but there are people who actually believe that a ‘high nature’ is correlated with white spots on the liver, and that this condition has often been revealed by post-mortem examination.” A belief in North Carolina has it “that if a person married three times, his liver would automatically turn white,” but no contextual information is provided.

A recent study by the author found that the term white liver was, and to a lesser extent still is, as Randolph observed, used as a figure of speech in Southern Appalachia to jokingly or disparagingly identify someone as sexually deviant, but for some the term also referred to a genuine sexual disorder.

Informants interviewed for the study described individuals with white liver as having an abnormally powerful sexual drive that incapacitates or kills a spouse or significant other by literally draining them of their vitality through incessant coitus. A related belief conveyed by some informants was that those afflicted with white liver not only had an insatiable sexual appetite but also had bad blood and transmitted a fatal infection to others.

A social worker shared a story about his first encounter with white liver while working for the Department of Public Welfare in Wise County, VA in the late 1950s. A woman came into his office one day seeking help for her daughter, who had just recently married.

The woman said she was concerned about her daughter’s husband losing his job, adding that he had missed a lot of work because her daughter was “wearing him out.” Unsure of what she was talking about, he pressed further, and the woman told him that her daughter had the white liver. He eventually surmised that the woman was talking indirectly about her daughter having a voracious sexual appetite. Flummoxed about what to do, he sheepishly recommended cold shower therapy and consultation with a physician.

Attributing the death of a man to an oversexed wife raises several questions about sexual mores in the past. Were women labeled ill by others because they openly admitted to enjoying sex with their husbands during a time when sex was not to be enjoyed? Were these women, and perhaps women in general, viewed as sexual predators, either by men or by other women?

 

source: Folk Medicine in Southern Appalachia, by Anthony P. Cavender, UNC Press, 2003

1 comments

From then on my cousin and this pig understood each other

Posted by | August 4, 2015

One of our cousins had a fight once with a fertilizer spreader, with an inanimate machine. He was pouring fertilizer into cotton rows with this spreader, a brand new expensive labor saving device, and he could not get it to spread the proper amount. It dropped too much, it dropped too little. He worked for two hours on the adjustments; then in a sudden tempestuous frenzy of temper he picked up a rock and beat the thing to bits. Throwing the broken pieces over the pasture fence, he yelled: “You dirty low-down evil contraption, stay there!” and going to the barn, he got out the old cow horn and from then on spread fertilizer as his father and grandfather had spread it.

This same cousin also had a row with a pig. This pig refused to eat when he came down to feed it. It pawed the ground and ran to the other side of the sty. “All right, said our cousin, “you either get some manners and eat when I feed you or you’ll perish to death.”

He came to the sty the second day with a bucket full of buttermilk mash, and again the pig pawed and ran away. On the third day he said to the pig: “All right, damn you, you can just perish.” On the fourth day, however, the pig ate ravenously as soon as my cousin put the bucket down, and from then on my cousin and this pig understood each other.

We slopped the pigs; we spread fertilizer and mixed fertilizer; and about us were the cotton fields and the fine blue hills, and on the walls of our houses were shotguns.

We drove into town to swap butter and eggs for coffee and sugar and black pepper; we swapped smoked hams for tobacco and cloth. We wasted opportunity, we wasted chance, but we held on to an attitude of living that some people had lost who did not waste opportunity and chance. We weighed and balanced many intangible things. We made up our minds about how we wanted things and where we wanted them.

I remember once my Uncle Wade saying to us he had decided when he was twenty-one years of age that he didn’t choose to live more than two days’ drive from the Southern Railroad – he didn’t intend to live any farther south than Greenwood nor any farther north than Pickens.

And I remember a great-uncle who started off to Texas and then returned, saying he found out in Mississippi that old Mr. No Account was moving right along with him, and he decided if old No Account had to hang on to him, he had rather deal with the scoundrel in South Carolina than ‘way out in Texas. We talked about great rains and great winds and great droughts — about all kinds of wonders. Once I remember Mary telling us she had seen an infidel. He was a Georgian, a fine-looking man, and he did not believe in God. Mary said to us Georgia was a wild place —preachers drank whisky in Georgia.

We discussed ultimate destinies — the asylum, the poorhouse, the graveyard, the jail. We considered chance and the power of faith over chance, and how strange and hidden was chance. We were caught by it like fish in nets and like birds snared in traps. And the race in our valley no more went to the swift than it had in Ecclesiastes, nor did the battle go to the strong, nor did riches come to men of understanding. When our time would arrive, it would arrive.

Red Hills and Cotton, an Upcountry Memory, by Ben Robertson, University of South Carolina Press, 1943

0 comments
↑ Back to top

This collection is copyright ©2006-2015 by Dave Tabler. All visuals are used in accordance with the Fair Use Law (Per Title 17—United States Code—Section 107) and remain the property of copyright owners. Site Design by Amaru Interactive