Tag Archives: Appalachian theatre

My Life as Ephraim Cutler

I knew of Cutler’s presence and influence in my community from an early age; Cutler had been one of the organizers of the famed ‘Coonskin’ Library established there in 1804 by area residents who craved printed materials on the then US frontier. Cutler was the first secretary of the Western Library, the real name of the subscription library. School children of the town frequently presented a play portraying the creation of this library.

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Upcoming play delves into Frankie Silver saga

Frankie Stewart Silver is known as the woman who was hanged in Morganton for murdering and dismembering her husband, 19-year-old Charles Silver, with an axe in the cabin that they shared with their 13-month-old daughter Nancy on Dec. 22, 1831. Silver’s family then helped her escape from jail and disguised her as a boy, but she was caught and returned to prison before her execution. The parts of Charles’s body were discovered at different times, and there are three separate graves for him at the Silver family cemetery in Mitchell County, North Carolina.

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Traipsin’ the Stage

Directing grade-school plays hardly prepared Robin Waggoner for thespian writing. Waggoner, a 30-year teacher at Prichard Elementary School, wrote most of “The Traipsin’ Woman — The Jean Thomas Story,” about the life of the Ashland woman who started the American Folk Festival in 1930 and kept it going for most of the next 42 years.

Waggoner wrote the play as part of a $10,000 grant to the Grayson Gallery and Art Center from the Brushy Fork Institute in Berea. She said gallery directors Dan and Mindy Click thought a drama would be a good idea.

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She’s Turned into a Mountain Woman

As I was leaving Grundy for Abingdon, VA, Lee said, “Be sure to meet Lou Crabtree.” Oh yes, I remembered, she was the mountain woman who had once tottered into Lee’s creative writing class there. In the opening exercise, Lou’s first line from her story made Lee gasp in delight: “Aunt Reller had 13 miscarriages, and she named ever’ one of ‘em.” I was eager to meet this model for Ivy Rowe.

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