Superabundance of Religious Fervor Lands Holy Roller in Police Court

Posted by Dave Tabler | February 3, 2017

Middlesboro Daily News
Middlesboro, KY
Feb. 5, 1921

There are some persons who are emotional to such an extent that they completely lose control of themselves and let their emotions sway them. When persons of this nature are overcome by their emotions, they cannot control themselves and they are not in a position to judge of their actions.

Mrs. Lucy Chadwell, a member of the church of “Holy Rollers,” who lives in the East End, by her own admission in police court today, is such a person. When Mrs. Chadwell, accompanied by her daughter, attended the services last night in the Second Baptist Church, and her religious feelings overcame her so that she shook and rolled, thereby throwing those present at the service into a state of alarm and disturbance, the Rev. A.L. Chadwell of the Second Baptist Church swore out a warrant for the arrest of Mrs. Chadwell on the grounds of disturbing the peace and breaking up religious services.

When arraigned before Judge Wood in police court this morning, Mrs. Chadwell declared that she did not mean to create a disturbance or to break up the services. “I was so overcome with the spirit of religion,” she told Judge Wood, “that I could not hold myself back. The Holy Ghost was within me and I could do nothing but give demonstration to my feeling.”  During the hearing, which was attended by a large number of the members of Mrs. Chadwell’s church, a demonstration was given showing how services are conducted by “Holy Rollers.”

Judge Wood placed Mrs. Chadwell on probation, with the warning that if any more complaints of a similar nature are made, he will be compelled to deal more severely with the offender.


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Carter G Woodson, father of Black History Month

Posted by Dave Tabler | February 2, 2017

February is Black History Month (if you’re in the UK and reading this, make that October!). West Virginia educator Carter G. Woodson, the son of former slaves, was pivotal in its development.

Woodson (1874-1950) was a graduate and later principal of Douglass High School in Huntington, WV, a dean at West Virginia State, and was the second African American to earn Harvard Ph.D. (1912).

Dr. Woodson authored numerous scholarly books and magazine articles on the positive contributions of blacks to the development of America. He reached out to schools and the general public through the establishment of several key organizations, and founded Negro History Week (precursor to Black History Month).

On September 9, 1915, Woodson and four others organized the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History. The purposes of the organization, in Woodson’s words, were “the collection of sociological and historical data on the Negro, the study of peoples of African blood, the publishing of books in the field, and the promotion of harmony between the races by acquainting the one with the other.”

Carter G WoodsonIn the beginning — and for a long time thereafter — the Chicago-based association was a one-man show with Woodson producing, directing, writing, organizing, and providing most of the money. Even after the organization was launched, he said later, “few of the members were anxious to assume any pecuniary responsibility and therefore urged further delay before undertaking to carry out the program.”

On January 1, 1916, wary of said delays, and without consulting the Executive Council, Woodson published at his own expense the first issue of the Journal of Negro History. This naturally enraged the Executive Council, and one member, the only woman, resigned in protest.

Although Woodson alienated some friends and supporters, he succeeded by the power of example and the sheer force of his personality in creating a structure which published books, funded researchers and shaped the thinking of large masses of people. In 1920, he organized Associated Negro Publishers “to make possible the publication and circulation of valuable books on colored people not acceptable to most publishers.”

In 1922, after serving as dean of Howard University and West Virginia State, he left the teaching profession and gave himself body and soul to the movement. In the same year, he published one of the major books in the history of Black America, The Negro In Our History. On February 7, 1926, he organized Negro History Week, which was expanded in 1976 to Black History Month. This was perhaps his proudest accomplishment. “No other single thing,” he said, “has done so much to dramatize the achievement of persons of African blood.”

Dr. Woodson often said that he hoped the time would come when Negro History Week would be unnecessary; when all Americans would willingly recognize the contributions of black Americans as a legitimate and integral part of the history of this country. Whether it’s called Black History, Negro History, Afro-American History, or African American History, his philosophy has made this field of study a legitimate and acceptable area of intellectual inquiry.

In honor of all the work that Dr. Carter G. Woodson did to promote the study of African American History, an ornament of him hangs on the White House’s Christmas tree each year.


Carter+G+Woodson Black+History+Month Huntington+WV appalachia appalachian+history appalachian+mountains+history

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When the mountain girl marries

Posted by Dave Tabler | February 1, 2017

When the mountain girl marries and responsibility is put upon her, she thriftily adapts herself to conditions. A young girl of sixteen who was about to marry was looking at my wedding ring one day.

Bayard Wootten photo from book; original caption: "A battling stick is hard on the clothes, but it gets the dirt out."

Bayard Wootten photo from book; original caption: “A battling stick is hard on the clothes, but it gets the dirt out.”

“Did you get that plain ring when you married?” she asked.

“Why, of course,” I said, carelessly using a broad statement. “Everybody gets them.”

“Oh, no, they don’t,” she corrected me. “I ain’t about to have one. I told Joe to spend his money for something we need. He’s going to get me a dress.”

“But I should think you’d want a wedding ring to keep always and so everybody will know you’re married,” I urged, pursuing the subject.

“Well, I won’t need it for that,” she said, with more logic than I had used. “Because all the folks we know will know about it just as soon as we marry, and hit’ll be in the paper, and I don’t see what difference hit would make to folks we don’t know whether they can tell if I’m married or not, and anyhow, I’m not going anywhere but to Big Creek.”

And she didn’t have a ring, either.

The girl has probably made no preparations for her new home. Cannily, she gets her man first, knowing that until it actually happens, the marriage is uncertain. Anyway, there is no hurry about getting house-plunder, because while they figure things out they can live with one family or the other.

When he can, the husband will put up a little house of his own, thrown together of planed lumber with just enough underpinning to hold it up, either a bungalow of the simplest type or a hip-roofed, four-room cabin with an enveloping porch.

The bride will get a stove, bed, and sheets, a few home-made chairs and a table, a range, and cooking utensils. Then she will sweep the yard, put out a garden and ‘pale’ a few flowers in ‘brash’ against the ravages of the dogs and chickens. If her man did not have a job when they married, he gets one now in one of the mines, or perhaps at one of the mica or spar grinding plants.

The wife will keep the little house clean without spending much time at it, boil the clothes in an iron kettle by the branch side, summer and winter; wash them in galvanized tubs and hang them on the fence; take care of the pigs and chickens; milk the cow and tend the garden. After the children come, they will all turn in and help, and there is not much lonely hoeing.

“Cabins in the Laurel,” by Muriel Earley Sheppard, University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, 1935

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If the baby is a girl, please name her ‘Arizona’

Posted by Dave Tabler | January 31, 2017

Arizona Houston Hughes (1876-1969) taught elementary school in Avery County, NC for 57 years. In 1953 she was honored by the state, receiving the North Carolina Teacher of the Year award at the annual North Carolina Teacher’s Conference in Asheville. She “was selected as honor teacher because of her record as the State’s active teacher with the longest continuous record,” reported the Asheville Citizen. Gloria Houston tells her story in My Great Aunt Arizona, published in 1992 by HarperCollins:

My great-aunt Arizona
was born in a log cabin
her papa built
in the meadow
on Henson Creek
in the Blue Ridge Mountains.
When she was born,
the mailman rode
across the bridge
on his big bay horse
with a letter.

The letter was from her brother,
Galen, who was in the cavalry,
far away in the West.
The letter said,
“If the baby is a girl,
please name her Arizona,
and she will be beautiful,
like this land.”

Arizona was a very tall little girl.
She wore her long brown hair in braids.
She wore long full dresses,
and a pretty white apron.
She wore high-button shoes,
and many petticoats, too.
Arizona liked to grow flowers.

She liked to read.

And sing.

And square dance to the music
of the fiddler
on Saturday night.

Arizona had a little brother, Jim
They played together on the farm.
In summer they went barefoot
and caught tadpoles in the creek.

In the fall
they climbed the mountains
searching for galax and ginseng roots.

In the winter they made snow cream
with sugar, snow, and sweet cream
from Mama’s cows.
When spring came,
they helped Papa tap
the maple trees
and catch the sap in buckets.
Then they made maple syrup
and maple-sugar candy.

Arizona and her brother Jim
walked up the road
that wound by the creek
to the one-room school.
All the students
in all the grades
were there,
in one room.
All the students
read their lessons
at the same time.
They made
a great deal of noise,
the room was called
a blab school.

The students carried their lunches
in lard buckets made of tin.
They brought ham and biscuits.
Sometimes they had fried apple pie.
They drank cool water
from the spring
at the bottom of the hill.
At recess they played games
like tag
and William Matrimmatoe.

When Arizona had read
all the books
at the one-room school,
she crossed the mountains
to the school
in another village,
a village called Wing.
It was so far away
that she rode her papa’s mule.
Sometimes she rode the mule
through the snow.

Arizona Houston Hughes of Avery County NC

Arizona Houston Hughes

When Arizona’s mother died,
Arizona had to leave school
and stay home to care for Papa
and her brother Jim.
But she still loved to read-
and dream
about the faraway places
she would visit one day.
So she read and she dreamed,
and she took care of Papa
and Jim.

Then one day
papa brought home a new wife.
Arizona could go away to school,
where she could learn to be a teacher.
Aunt Suzie invited Arizona
to live at her house
and help with the chores.
Aunt Suzie made her work very hard.
But at night Arizona could study-
and dream of all the faraway places
she would visit one day.

Finally, Arizona returned
to her home on Henson Creek.
She was a teacher at last.

She taught in the one-room school
where she and Jim had sat.
She made new chalkboards
out of lumber from Papa’s sawmill,
and covered them with polish
made for shoes.
She still wore long full dresses
and a pretty white apron.
She wore high-button shoes
and many petticoats, too.
She grew flowers in every window.
She taught students about words
and numbers
and the faraway places
they would visit someday.
“Have you been there?”
the students asked.
“Only in my mind,” she answered.
“But someday you will go.”

Arizona married the carpenter
who helped build the new Riverside School
down where Henson Creek joins the river.
So Miss Arizona became Mrs. Hughes,
and for the rest of her days
she taught fourth-grade students
who called her “Miz Shoes.”

And when her daughter was born,
Miz Shoes brought the baby to school,
to the sunny room
where flowers grew in every window.

Every year Arizona
had a Christmas tree
growing in a pot.
The girls and boys made
paper decorations
to brighten up the tree.
Then they planted their tree
at the edge of the school yard,
year after year,
until the entire playground
was lined with
living Christmas trees,
like soldiers guarding the room
where Arizona taught,
with her long gray braids
wound around her head,
with her long full dress,
and pretty white apron,
with her high-button shoes,
and many petticoats, too.

The boys and girls
who were students in her class
had boys and girls
who were students in her class.
And they had boys and girls
who were students in her class.

For fifty-seven years
my great-aunt Arizona
hugged her students.
She hugged them
when their work was good,
and she hugged them
when it was not.
She taught them words
and numbers,
and about the faraway places
they would visit someday.
“Have you been there?”
the students asked.
“Only in my mind,”
she answered.
“But someday you will go.”

My great-aunt Arizona
taught my dad,
Jim’s only son.
And she taught
my brother and me
in the fourth grade.
With her soft white braids
wound a round her head,
she taught us about
the faraway places
we would visit someday.

My great-aunt Arizona died
on her ninety-third birthday.
But she goes with me
in my mind-
A very tall lady,
in a long full dress,
and a pretty white apron,
with her high-button shoes,
and her many petticoats, too.
She’s always there,
in a sunny room
with many flowers
in every window,
and a hug for me every day.

She never did go
to the faraway places
she taught us about.
But my great-aunt Arizona
travels with me
and with those of us
whose lives she touched.

She goes with us
in our minds.

sources: My Great Aunt Arizona by Gloria Houston, HarperCollins, 1992
Remembering Avery County: Old Tales from North Carolina’s Youngest County, by Michael C. Hardy, The History Press, Charleston, SC, 2007

4 Responses

  • Ana says:

    I was reading this with my 6 year old for the first time. This is so touching. It made me weepy. Thank you for posting a picture to go with the name.

  • Dooris Wiseman Boulton says:

    Thank you Kimberly for this post of Mama. I grew up in her home and she instilled all the history, culture religious heritage and curiosity that has stayed with me for 78 years.

    I have just been thinking about posting a little bio of her life – fascinating. Her mother died when she was 7, eventually went away to school, then to Macon stenography college before coming home to teach at 18 and began working on a Lifetime teaching certificate at App. (Most other teachers in the 1800s were volunteers from their community. What a commitment!)

    My mother, Helen,later taught children of her earlier students, then in the 60’s I taught children of those children.

    “Arizona” is now the name of her great, great grandchild.

    I see that I am not replying to Kimberly but ….to whom it may concern:-) Sorry.

    ps. Helen is the baby in the box!

  • Ann Greene Barrs says:

    I had a teacher (I never knew her first name) at Crossnore elementary school. 1st or 3rd grade. In 1944 or ’45. I was only 6 or 7. I’d love to know if my Mrs. Hughes was Arizona.

    My great-grandmother’s name was Indiana Virginia Setzer.

  • Ellen says:

    Vickie Olander I am not sure if this is where Mom’s name “Revonda Arizona Penley Johnson” originated or not. She would have been about 35 when mom was born in Fontana Village (not in Avery Co.) where Grandma Mindy was cooking for a logging camp. Folks were enamored with the west so it might well have been. Quite a handle for quite a Lady even if she didn’t particularly care for her name.

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Trapped in a cave! The bizarre Floyd Collins story

Posted by Dave Tabler | January 30, 2017

Floyd Collins was first to explore Sand Cave. Fallen rock trapped him in narrow passage 150 ft. from entrance, Jan. 30, 1925. Rescuers reached him with food and heat for short time. Aid cut off by shifting earth closing passage. Engineers sank 55-foot shaft but were unable to reach Collins’ body until February 16. Rescue attempt publicized worldwide. Aroused sympathy of nation.

–Historical Marker at Sand Cave, KY erected in 1970 by The Kentucky Historical Society and the Department of Highways.

In 1925, Floyd Collins, one of the world’s premier cavers, met a tragic and bizarre end in part of what is now known to be Mammoth Cave. Collins, determined to find a “show” cave as a source of family income, had signed a contract in the middle of January with a man named Doyle and another man named Ed Estes to explore a rock overhang called Sand Cave on Doyle’s farm. Doyle and Estes agreed to give Floyd half rights to anything he found there. There was a story that men who worked for Mammoth Cave had once dynamited the overhang. The day before Floyd went down, he showed Estes a skull he’d found in a cave and then gave it to Estes’ son, Jewell. He said he was afraid of not coming out alive. His fears were well founded.

cave explorer Floyd CollinsFloyd Collins examines fossil remains in Great Crystal Cave, several years prior to being trapped in Sand Cave. From commercial postcard.

On Friday, January 30, he went into the cave. He crawled down into the dark, on his belly, into a narrow passage. He slid fifteen feet straight down, then twisted through a hundred feet of loops that sloped at 30 degrees. He dropped straight for eight feet and then crawled for fifty feet more between loose rock walls until he reached a small cavern. He lay on his belly, looking down into a fifty-foot pit, twenty-five feet long and ten feet wide.

He went down into it, looking for a passage, but it was closed. He scaled the walls and headed back the way he had come. He kicked a rock that knocked some stones that started a slide that trapped him. He was caught a hundred and twenty five feet deep in the ground, in a space eight inches high and twelve feet long. The temperature was 16 degrees. He was facing up in the direction from which he’d come, but there was a seven-ton boulder on his left foot. He lay in mud and black night, with water dripping on his head.

Considering Floyd Collins’ experience and reputation as a caver, it is astonishing that he broke what are considered today cardinal rules of safe exploration:

1) Went exploring alone.
2) Had only one light source.
3) Was poorly clothed.
4) Had no helmet or hard hat.
5) Did not tell anybody where he was going or when he would be back.

Relatives eventually noticed that he was missing, and a quick check in Sand Cave confirmed the worst. The rescue effort that ensued quickly turned into a publicity carnival. It lasted for 18 days and captured the interest of the whole nation through the relatively new medium of radio.

Rescuers tried everything—digging and hacking at the passageway, sinking a new shaft, feeding Collins to keep up his energy, and sending down reporter Skeets Miller to chronicle the drama. At one point, rescuers even considered amputation. Nothing worked. Eventually, a passage just above Collins collapsed, cutting him off from aid. Fifteen days after being trapped, Floyd Collins pushed his last crawl.

The authorities decided it was too dangerous to remove the body and left it in the cave. Eventually, his body was put in a glass-topped coffin in Crystal Cave where cavers from around the world paid their respects to him for many years. Then in the most dramatic and grotesque twist to the story, his body was stolen—and later found in a nearby field missing a leg. After this incident his body was placed in a chained casket.

Eventually, the National Park Service absorbed Crystal Cave and closed it to the public. In 1989, Collins was properly buried in Mammoth Cave Baptist Church Cemetery on Flint Ridge. Today Floyd Collins’ final resting place has an extraordinary array of tokens on it — coins, sunflower seeds, stones, and other objects left by cave explorers and others for whom Floyd Collins was, and is, a legendary symbol.


5 Responses

  • Granny Sue says:

    Great, sad story, Dave. Stranger than fiction, indeed.

  • […] by the wire services; I was as remote from them as I was from Mammoth Cave, in Kentucky, where Floyd Collins was caught in a narrow fissure and penned there until his death, while the world awaited his fate, […]

  • Jim Martin says:

    Full of errors…..cave was 56 degrees ( as are all KY caves), NOT 16 degrees…….the rock that pinned Floyd’s left ankle weighed much, much less than 7 tons…… 56 POUNDS !!!

    The Carmichael shaft was 65ft deep, and it was from this shaft that was hand dug by volunteers, that contact with Floyd was actually……unfortunately he passed away before they were able to reach him.

    Please try to get your facts straight before you decide to try to write an article such as this.

  • day time says:

    I have been doing my research on Floyd Collins lately and I have found a lot of your direct information to be largely exactly copied and pasted. You got a few of your facts wrong, you really must do a better job with this.

  • […] Originally Posted by SixFalls Awesome! If you don't have cave experience, call the NSS. I am sure there is a local "Grotto" in your area. My Grotto is the "South Port Cavers" Columbia, TN. Caving is fun and very addictive. Once you get mud in your blood, you just might be hooked. Steam is a good sign. If it is a vertical cave it may also be a grey bat habitat. These are real important right now. I'll PM you as well. National Speleological SocietyUSGS National Wildlife Health Center – White-Nose Syndrome (WNS) When I was a kid I was nuts about caves and dragged my family to Onandaga Cave and Meramec Caverns in MO. Then I read the story about Floyd Collins and my ardor cooled quite a bit for the process.Trapped in a cave! The bizarre Floyd Collins story – Appalachian History […]

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