Happy Easter!

Posted by Dave Tabler | April 14, 2017


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He was active as a cat, strong as a second Sampson

Posted by Dave Tabler | April 13, 2017

greg millerPlease welcome guest author Greg B. Miller of Chattanooga, TN. “My great grandmother was a Walden of Walden’s Ridge,” he says. “I was moving an old chest of drawers for my mom when I found a family history written by my grandmother’s brother in 1937.” The following excerpt is from that document:


Walden Family History from England to Chatt, etc.
Researched and written by A. Taylor Walden
Chattanooga, Tn. in 1937 for his sister, Sarah Susan Griffith

Transcribed to computer by Marie Griffith Miller 2010
[Misspellings & grammar left intact to reflect A.T. Walden’s voice]


I will, for the benefit of Andrew Walden’s younger decendants say something of his general character, features, physical strength and jovial disposition. Knowing him in his old age as I did, being his namesake and loving him with all my soul, I am glad to be the decendant of such a character. Grandadie in his prime was 6 feet 2 in weighed 200 to 220, broad(?) shoulders, tapering down to a size 9 shoe. Active as a cat and strong as a second Sampson, cold black hair and eyes, very scattering beard shave once and twice each week as long as he lived.

A great lover of his home, industrious, truthful, and sober, yet he was a dram drinker. Always kept whis and brandy, as was customary in his day. Still he was temperate. He was a lover of fine stock as hogs, horses, cattle and sheep. His smokehouse was never empty. He was a great lover of bees. He had frome 50 to 100 stands of bees at his death in 1883. He sold honey most every at 10 cants per lb to meet all his bills, his taxes included.

This famous engraving by Adolph Vollmy depicts the Leonid meteor storm that occurred in the early hours of November 13, 1833, easily visible over the southeast United States. A. T. Walden says of his grandfather: “He witnessed the falling of the stars at 3 oclock a.m. (?)the 18 1863.” Could he in fact be referring to the 1833 event? A.T. Walden’s history dates were transcribed from family bibles, and the meteor shower, whether in 1833, or 1863 as he states, happened long before he was born. Margie Griffith Miller, in her 2010 transcription, added the question mark next to the date, casting further doubt on its accuracy.

This famous engraving by Adolph Vollmy depicts the Leonid meteor storm that occurred in the early hours of November 13, 1833, easily visible over the southeast United States. A. T. Walden says of his grandfather: “He witnessed the falling of the stars at 3 oclock a.m. (?)the 18 1863.” Could he in fact be referring to the 1833 event? A.T. Walden’s history dates were transcribed from family bibles, and the meteor shower, whether in 1833, or 1863 as he states, happened long before he was born. Margie Griffith Miller, in her 2010 transcription, added the question mark next to the date, casting further doubt on its accuracy.


Grandadie was a great lover of his gunn, dog and fishing tackle. Many be the time when I was a very small boy have I followed him in the woods on a squirrel hunt, or to Chickamauga creek fishing. He had a fine musical talent, played the violin well and was a fine dancer on down to old age. He gave many raid mauling(?) corn huskings before my day with a big dance at night.

He loved his neighbors and delighted in having them share his hospitality, yet truth, industry, soberness, decency and humor was all traits in his noble character. He was a man of fine horse sense and the most wonderful memory of any person I have ever met.

Being raised up with the Indians in Va. He could speak Cherokee to the day of his death. He was one sixteenth Indian and inherited many of their ideas as to living up to nature. He could feel the bark on a tree the darkest night and find his direction. He was great believer in moon for signs and seasons. He planted and worked his cop by certain signs in the moon. He a believer in the dog day theory that all poisness snakes was blind for forty days and sore would heal.

He witnessed the falling of the stars at 3 oclock a.m. (?)the 18 1863. He said people who had never prayed before, pray that day. It made the cold chills run up my back when I was a child to hear him relate the incident and describe his feelings. Grandadie was a well informed man of his day. He could read with a good understanding, could write a plain rough hand. Of the seven brothers and three sisters, only grandadie, his oldest sister Nancy Roberts and youngest brother, Hudson could read and write. In his religious beleife he was a primitive Baptist, although he never any profession of religion, or united with any church. He read and believed the bible as he understood it, and atended church often. His life of truth, honesty and charity was his religion, he lived and died by it.

So was the life of Andrew Walden, born in Lee Co Va April 1804, died in Walker co.Ga. June the 7th 1883. seventy nine years, one month and twenty two day old. So ended the life of a noble man in the estimation of his grandson, Andrew T. Walden.

Read the full family history here:


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Gov. Taylor immediately wired, "The laws of Tennessee must be upheld."

Posted by Dave Tabler | April 12, 2017

The most serious difficulty that arose over the stateline issue, and one which threatened bloodshed, was what has been termed the “The Water-Works War.” In April, 1889, the Bristol-Goodson Water Company, then just completing their plant on the Tennessee side, desired to extend their water-mains to the Virginia side. This evoked a loud protest from the Virginia authorities and public.

tn va state line

Sam L. King, president and principal owner of the water company, ordered his workmen to extend a pipe to Everett’s restaurant, located near the corner of Main and Front streets. No sooner had the workmen reached the disputed territory than officers arrested them and they were fined for trespass.

As a further test the president himself stepped into the ditch and began digging, when he was arrested by officer James Cox — taken to jail and afterwards fined. The Goodson council issued an injunction, restraining the water company from working beyond the middle of Main street. This injunction was respected. The Goodson authorities had engaged some of the leading lawyers on the Tennessee side as council- N. M. Taylor, C. J. St. John, Sr., and W. D. Haynes.

When the Bristol-Goodson Water Company desisted in their work the Goodson council ordered work to begin on a line of pipe down Main street. They had a large force of men and made considerable speed. King appealed to Gov. Taylor of Tennessee to prevent them from trespassing, claiming that the agreement between the two councils as to the location of the line had never been approved by the legislature of either state. The governor in answer referred him to his legal advisers, who were also representing the city of Goodson. Warrants were issued for E. H. Seneker, acting mayor — in the absence of Mayor Fanning Miles— and all his councilmen.

The matter being laid before Judge John P. Smith, chancellor of the first Tennessee division, an injunction was issued, restraining the Virginia authorities. N. M. Taylor withdrew from the case.

Sheriff R. S. Cartwright, with his deputies, was placed in charge. Sheriff Hughes, with his deputies, hastened to the scene to protect the interests of Washington County and the State of Virginia.

Gov. Taylor being notified of the injunction, immediately wired, “The laws of Tennessee must be upheld.”

Cartwright hurried his deputies through Sullivan County and summoned a posse comitatus. Several hundred responded. They came with all kinds of weapons, as determined as their forefathers were, when called to defend their country.

Front Street, Bristol, VA

Front Street, Bristol, VA. No date. Courtesy Bristol Historical Association.


King’s forces seized the armory of the A. D. R. Rifles and appropriated all the guns. The hardware stores found eager buyers for all the weapons in stock.

On account of King’s life having been threatened, Sheriff Cartwright made him a deputy sheriff so that he could go armed, to protect himself.

The Sullivan County forces rendezvoused on Alabama street— they marched out Fifth Street to Main and lined up and down the street, facing the ditch on the Virginia side. The workmen in this ditch were armed, as were the line of deputies put there to defend them.

Sheriff Cartwright, with a warrant for James Cox, stepped over to serve it, when Cox, in his effort to elude that officer, caught his foot on a water pipe and fell, with the sheriff on top of him.

Charles Worley came to Cox’s rescue, when H. C. Caldwell, Chief-of-Police of Bristol, and Tip Powell, a deputy, rushed to Cartwright ‘s assistance. It became a general scuffle and the tenseness of the scene was such that, had a cap exploded, it would have been followed by a fusilade of bullets, for the guns were not loaded with blanks that day.

Officer Worley, who had not taken the situation so seriously as had some of the others, said to Caldwell, “Oh, let’s get out of this,” and the two men got up and walked off together.

TN Governor Robert Taylor wired: "The laws of Tennessee must be upheld."  Photo Tennessee State Library and Archives.

TN Governor Robert Taylor wired: “The laws of Tennessee must be upheld.” Photo Tennessee State Library and Archives.

Mayor Seneker, acting under reasonable advice, withdrew his workmen from the ditch and placed them in another part of the town. Influential citizens addressed the assembling crowds and urged peace. After much persuasion the leaders agreed to settle the matter in court, and so the friction between the two states, that had threatened a bloody conflict, was tempered by the prospect of an amicable adjustment.

In 1890 the state-line controversy came up before the United States Supreme Court. The state of Virginia was represented by Rufus A. Ayers and William F. Rhea — Tennessee by A. S. Colyer, Abram L. Demoss, N. M. Taylor Thomas Curtin, Hal H. Haynes, C. J. St. John, Sr., and W. D. Haynes. Rhea for Virginia, and Curtin for Tennessee were the examiners. Many witnesses were introduced — among them the sole survivor of a former survey, Col. George R. McClellan. Gen. J. D. Imboden and Gen. James Greever were also witnesses.

As usual the ridiculous side developed in the testimony of some of the witnesses. One confused the Henderson-Walker line with the Mason and Dixon line.A complete history of the dispute was submitted and the Supreme Court decided in favor of Tennessee — that the compromise line of 1802 was the correct line.

In April, 1900 a commission composed of William C. Hodgkins, of Massachusetts, James B. Baylor, of Virginia, and Andrew Buchanan, of Tennessee, was named to retrace and re-mark the old compromise line of 1802. This was completed in 1901-02.

On January 28, 1903, the State of Tennessee ceded to Virginia the northern half of State street, thus ending a long and tedious controversy.


from Historic Sullivan; a history of Sullivan County, Tennessee, with brief biographies of the makers of history,” by Oliver Taylor Sr., King Printing Co, Bristol, TN, 1909

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Hickory chickens are underfoot this month

Posted by Dave Tabler | April 11, 2017

‘Hickory chickens,’ or ‘dry land fish,’ don’t have anything to do with chicken, fish or hickory. They are morel mushrooms and they’re in season right about now. Look for 3 varieties throughout Appalachia: morchella esculenta, which can be found under old apple or pear trees when the oak leaves are about mouse-ear size; morchella angusticeps (‘fat morel’), which can be found under oak, beech or maple forests, when the serviceberry is in bloom; and morchella crassipes, found on swampy ground near jewelweed.

morel mushroomAll favor damp soil and decaying logs, and if you hunt after a spring rain when the sun has warmed things up a bit you’ll likely be rewarded. Don’t count on help from die-hard ‘shroom hunters, however! Not only is the morel’s flavor prized above all other mushrooms, but it’s notoriously difficult to cultivate commercially. And so hunters are loath to share their fields lest others clean them out first.

Watch out for false morels. ‘True’ morels have caps that are completely attached to the stem–while false morels in the genus Verpa have caps that hang completely free, like a thimble placed on a pencil eraser. One of the verpas, Verpa bohemica, is known to be mildly poisonous to some people.

Batter dipped and fried up, nothing compares to the ‘sponge mushroom’s mild oyster flavor (hence the ‘dry land fish’ label). Some folks shun the batter, and saute them plain with butter and onion. They can be dried (never frozen!) for the off-season months (they need to be soaked in water for a few hours to reconstitute them). Or just use them dried: they can be turned into powder with a rolling pin to make a wonderful morel “spice” that can be added to sauces.

Related post: Land fishing for Molly Moochers

sources: Firefox 2, ed. Eliot Wigginton, Anchor Books/Doubleday, 1970


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You never seen so many eggs in your life as I had

Posted by Dave Tabler | April 10, 2017

Easter Egg b&w illustration
At Easter, kids would hide eggs. Go around to hen nests and get a egg or two every day and hide them so you’d have some for Easter. Well, Papa had about twelve or fourteen old Rhode Island Red hens. And Papa said, “I know good and well them hens ain’t laying.” Well, I’d go around every evening late before Mama and them would come home from work. And I’d steal me two or three eggs. And we had an old barn with a big old loft to it, and he had it full of hay.

Well, I’d steal two or three eggs every day and I’d carry them up to the loft and hide them up under that hay. Well, Easter come and Mama said, “Well, I don’t know what I’m going to do.” Said, “I ain’t got too many eggs for Easter.” I said, “I got some, Mama.” She said, “How’d you get any eggs?” I said, “I hid me some.” Said, “Well, go get them.”

And I went down there and got to pulling in that hay, and she had a little old basket—it was about that big around and about that high with a handle on it. I took that little old basket and went down there. I said, “I’ve got a few eggs.” When I got down there and got to pulling that hay back, I had that basket piled plumb full of eggs. You never seen so many eggs in your life as I had. And I carried them back home, and I thought I’d done something good, you know.

Papa got that old razor strop down, he said, “If you ever do anything like that again, I’ll beat you good.” Said, “Me a-worrying about my hens and you hiding the eggs!” I said, “Well, I thought I was doing something good. I thought it would be good. And I was a-hiding…” “—not no more you won’t!” He didn’t see the humor in it.

Eula Durham (b. early 1900’s)
Bynum, NC

North Carolina new Oral History Interview with Eula and Vernon Durham, 1978 November 29. Interview H-64. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)

source: http://docsouth.unc.edu/nc/durhame/durhame.html

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