Tag Archives: appalachia

A town once meant as many things as there were people in it

A town once meant as many things as there were people in it.  For instance, there are noises of the early 1900s that you are not likely to hear again— A fire engine, belching smoke, and drawn by three horses abreast, racing to a fire; sleigh bells on a wintry evening; the rattle of a […]

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The whacks of a Shillelagh

St. Patrick’s Day is only a couple of weeks off, and one of the things you’ll always find plenty of at that celebration is shillelaghs. The shillelagh [siúil éille is an old Gaelic word meaning “oak club”] is a wooden cudgel associated with the Shillelagh Forest in County Wicklow, Ireland, famous for its once massive […]

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The madstone would stick to the wound and draw the poison out

Right up till the early years of the 20th century, a bite from a rabid animal could strike terror in the hearts of Appalachian residents. Rabies slowly destroys the nervous system. It finally attacks the spinal cord and its victim may froth at the mouth, scream and fight. Before Louis Pasteur developed a successful vaccination […]

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The Waldensians in North Carolina

The largest Waldensian colony in the world outside of Italy–Valdese, NC–was officially incorporated as a town on February 17, 1920. The Waldenses, or Waldensians, are a Christian sect founded in the 12th century by Peter Valdo (hence Valdese = Waldensian), a merchant of Lyons, France who lived only a short time before St. Francis. For […]

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The panic of 1907 leads to depositor insurance

In early 1907 consumer goods prices were high and continuing to increase, a situation set in motion by too easy credit. Most glaringly, the money center banks of New York City owed their depositors more money than the whole country possessed, real money and ‘credit money’ combined. The system couldn’t sustain itself that way any […]

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