Tag Archives: appalachia history

The Overalls Club Movement of 1920

“The revolt against the high cost of living, expressed in the nation-wide formation of old-clothes leagues, overalls clubs, and lunchbasket clubs, is highly significant in that it is the first indication of protest to come from a class which has been a silent and patient sufferer during all the clashes that have taken place between […]

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John Henry was hammering

“John Henry was hammering on the right side, The big steam drill on the left, Before that steam drill could beat him down, He hammered his fool self to death.” —stanza 7 from one of the earliest written copies of the John Henry ballad, prepared by a W. T. Blankenship and published about 1900. He’s […]

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"Their bodies were covered with the wreckage of logs"

The 1912 Barranshe Run mishap was one of the more dramatic log train wrecks in West Virginia history. As the Nicholas County story became legendary, Cherry River Boom and Lumber Company‘s runaway train gained additional notoriety as the subject of a local blind poet, who supported himself by selling copies of his works for a nickel on […]

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Hard work, fresh air, and plenty of food

Shortly after taking office in 1933, President Franklin Roosevelt announced plans for creation of a “conservation army.” FDR at first saw the Civilian Conservation Corps primarily as a forestry organization — fighting fires, planting trees, thinning timber stands, stopping soil erosion and floods — but the field personnel of the State and Federal agencies involved […]

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The Santa Train pulls into town

In Appalachia Santa Claus comes the weekend before Thanksgiving. Since 1943, the Santa Special, more commonly known as the Santa Train, has traveled 110 miles through the mountains of eastern Kentucky, southwest Virginia and northeastern Tennessee to distribute loads of candy, toys and other goodies to eager bystanders, most of whom have made it a […]

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