Tag Archives: appalachian culture

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, […]


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 […]


Kids! Get rich selling Cloverine Salve!

By the time George Wilson Jr. became president of the Wilson Chemical Company in 1937, two generations of Wilsons had perfected the art of what was then a most unusual sales technique. The company recruited young children nationwide via advertisements in comic books and newspapers to sell their White Cloverine Brand Salve door-to-door, stating in […]


They made their money on the big chunks of coal

“Coal is like layers in a layer cake. And where you’ve got it cut by erosion by the valleys, why, it’s just in fingers, and these fingers went miles and miles back in there. Six or seven miles to the back side of the property. And then they retreated the mine back almost to the […]


The workload was a killer, the heat intense

“I came from the Georges Creek coal-mining region of western Maryland. Every male member of my family began his working life as a miner. I remember my father being on a number of bitter strikes because the fight over wages and safe working conditions was an every-day struggle. “I graduated from high school in 1930 […]

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