Tag Archives: appalachian history

Did Clark Dyer fly before the Wright brothers did?

“When he was not busy with cultivating the land on this farm and tilling the crops necessary to the economy of this large family, Clark Dyer labored in his workshop,” says his descendant Ethlene Dyer Jones.

“There he experimented with a flying machine made of lightweight cured river canes and covered with cloth. Drawings on the flyleaves of the family Bible, now in the possession of one of Clark’s great, great grandsons, show how he thought out the engineering technicalities of motion and counter-motion by a series of rotational whirligigs. He built a ramp on the side of the mountain and succeeded in getting his flying machine airborne for a short time.”

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Moving cotton through the upcountry

In the decade after the Civil War the new Air Line Railroad connecting Charlotte and Atlanta was laid through upcountry South Carolina. Two Confederate veterans saw an opportunity to create a new town at the junction of the older Blue Ridge Railroad and the new line, a town which because of this location would serve […]

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The cake was emblazoned with Illuminated candles

It’s Valentine’s Day. We know lovers everywhere are preoccupied, but what about everyone else? Here’s a day in the life as reported in the February 14, 1930 edition of the Clinch Valley News in Raven, VA: “A delicious and exquisite birthday dinner was served by Mrs. Parson at her home in North Raven at 7:30 […]

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Where’s the Valle Crucis post office? Well, that depends

In 1889, William West Skiles described a North Carolina location “entirely shut in by forest-clad mountains.” The area “was watered by three small, limpid streams, two of them leaping down the hillsides in foaming cascades,” Skiles wrote in Missionary Life at Valle Crucis. “It was this secluded valley which, from the cross-like form of the […]

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Sweet, Sticky Maple Wax

“Sugar making time was looked forward to with pleasant anticipation by the young people,” writes George Benson Kuykendall in a family geneaology published in 1919. His uncle, Isaac Kuykendall, purchased a 670 acre farm near Huttons, Garrett County, MD in 1881. “It came along in the early spring when there were clear days and frosty […]

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