Tag Archives: appalachia

The shack out back

Tennesseans called it the “la-la.” Elsewhere known as the john, the shanty, the shack, the throne, the shed, the relief office—it was the humble outhouse. The little buildings “out back” were as important as any building built before indoor plumbing. This was the building you located as soon as possible when you came to visit, […]

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A (future) noted West Virginian befriends Charles Dickens

The year he turned 44 years old, in 1864, Joseph Hubert Diss Debar was appointed WV commissioner of immigration by Governor Boreman; during his tenure he produced the only handbook for immigrants to be published in the state, printed in English, German and Swedish. He was Doddridge County’s first representative to the newly created West […]

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Summer pastimes

Albert J. Ewing (1870-1934) was a traveling photographer who worked on a floating studio aboard the Water Queen showboat that cruised the Ohio River. Way’s Packet Directory, 1848 – 1994 indicates that the Water Queen operated from 1880-1915. Ewing, who lived in the town of Lowell, Washington County, OH, photographed thousands of residents of southern […]

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We got by, I guess

“Well, always when they’d get up, you know, early, they’d go feed their horses to get ‘em ready for the day’s work. And then they plowed with a turning plow. They’d hook the horses to that turning plow, you know, and plow. Whatever they done on the farm, they used the horses. Just had the […]

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The Devil danced on Fiddlers Mountain

During the 1930s and 1940s Rose Thompson worked as a home supervisor with the Farm Security Administration in Georgia. While she worked with farmers and their wives — teaching them to put up preserves, make cotton mattresses, and build chick brooders — she listened to the stories they told. Thompson spent some time during the […]

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