Tag Archives: appalachian culture

Only play this game with an honest man

The game was described on images in Theban tombs. Romans played a variant called micare digitis (of which Cicero said “you must have great faith in the honesty of any man with whom you played in the dark.”) The French, who still teach it to their children, call it la mourre. And in Appalachia, starting […]

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Who’s kidnapping whom? Indians and settlers mix it up

“When Kentucky was first being settled, emigrants from either North Carolina or Tennessee, headed by a man named Cornett, reached the Kentucky River late one evening. They decided to camp and wait until daylight before crossing the river. They had wives, children, livestock and equipment with them. After supper they were sitting around their campfire […]

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Eats 2,000 mosquitoes a day?

America’s most sociable bird is getting ready to pack up and head south for the winter in the next couple of weeks. That would be the purple martin (Progne subis), whose usefulness was already recognized in Appalachia by the early Cherokees, who hung bottle gourds horizontally on long poles to attract them. Not only did […]

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We spoke just Italian at home

“My parents were Italian immigrants, and they settled in West Virginia, where my father came over at the age of seventeen, where he was a bookkeeper. He came over as a bookkeeper for an Italian, Mr. Fucci [sic], who was building a railroad through a great part of West Virginia at the time. [ed. note: […]

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You really had to work to keep them molasses

“[My grandparents] had a molasses mill; they made molasses. I used to help make them, too. [They made molasses to sell.] And they made for people. They’d make molasses for six weeks or longer at a time, every day except Sunday. Sometimes they didn’t make them on Saturday. It was usually five days a week. […]

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