Tag Archives: history of appalachia

When the war ended, all the coal mine whistles blowed

My father was a coal miner back in the…well, he went into the coal mine when he was 12 years old, and he came out when he was 47. And he worked through the First World War, well he worked, that’s all he ever done, ’till he came to the farm. But he worked through […]

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I used to flesh them by hand

“I started working at tanning when I was fifteen years old and I’m 63 now. It’s hot. Like putting your nose right on the grindstone all the time– day in and day out like taxidermy. Deer hides, deer skin products, clothes, bags, coats — we do the whole thing right from the rawhide to the […]

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Telegraphy Shortcuts

When timber and coal camps started springing up throughout Appalachia in the late 19th century, they provided work for surveyors, lawyers, engineers, doctors, dentists, mechanics, railway workers, postal employees, and telegraph operators. The telegraph offered employment to anyone who could master the technology, regardless of background. There was even a hierarchy of status, as operators […]

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Cotton was his past; Angus was his future

The McPhail Angus Farm, in the vicinity of Seneca, SC, has been a locally significant farm for more than one hundred years. The farm illustrates twentieth century developments in agriculture in the South Carolina upcountry, most notably the transition from a traditional dependence on growing cotton as a cash crop to raising cattle as a […]

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Hauling the last shipment of Confederate gold

“A few miles from Seneca, S. C. on the Blue Ridge Railroad there was a station called Perryville; now only a few rocks remain on the south side of the track to mark the spot. There was a bar-room, where doubtless many regaled themselves. One man who lived nearby would light his pipe with a […]

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