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Appalachian History



Stories, quotes and anecdotes.Stories, quotes and anecdotes from Appalachia, with an emphasis on the Depression era



Last Build Date: Wed, 22 Nov 2017 11:56:29 +0000

Copyright: Copyright 2010 Dave Tabler
 



Old Order Amish

Tue, 21 Nov 2017 05:00:00 +0000

When you’re in Oakland or Grantsville, MD, you’re in Old Order Amish territory. If you’re not Amish yourself, you may be wondering just how that group got its name. You’d have to go back to the Zurich, Switzerland of the 1690s and make the acquaintance of one Jakob Amman. Amman’s roots were in the Anabaptists, […]

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Black Draught and Wine of Cardui

Mon, 20 Nov 2017 05:00:52 +0000

"My wife," said a well- known gentleman, "has been in delicate health for fifteen years. She suffered fearfully every month with pains and excessive menses. Doctors could do her no good. One bottle of McElree's Wine of Cardui restored her health, and she gained eighteen pounds of weight in two months while taking it."

This was good stuff, but not good enough, and being a little carefree in the wording of his sentences, the copywriter took his lead from the enthusiastic husband.

He said, "McElree's Wine of Cardui is recommended as a tonic for delicate ladies. It was tested in 7000 cases and cured 6500 of them. Its astonishing action mystified Doctors, delighted sufferers, and restored thousands of suffering women to health and happiness." Obviously a batting average of 6,500 out of 7,000 cases was enough to mystify the doctors and delight the sufferers.

Likewise for a puny and failing wife to gain eighteen pounds from taking one bottle of Wine of Cardui explains why Z. C. Patten's friends sometimes chided him by asking whether his "female preparation" was "a beverage or a medicine."

Interestingly enough, in sixty years of ad writing, the man at the copy desk has grown considerably more conservative. He has become exceedingly skeptical of the word cure; in fact, there is no such word in his glossary, and he will not let a grateful patron become so exuberant in praise as to say that she has been healed.

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Cold Winter Shadow

Fri, 17 Nov 2017 05:00:00 +0000

When a cold winter shadow I cast on the ground And frost from the foothills is creeping all around I now and then glance down the road towards the town In a kind of a hope you’ll be coming on down It must have been November when I left you to the train I watched […]

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Hard work, fresh air, and plenty of food

Thu, 16 Nov 2017 05:00:00 +0000

Shortly after taking office in 1933, President Franklin Roosevelt announced plans for creation of a “conservation army.” FDR at first saw the Civilian Conservation Corps primarily as a forestry organization — fighting fires, planting trees, thinning timber stands, stopping soil erosion and floods — but the field personnel of the State and Federal agencies involved […]

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Criminal Syndicalism comes to Harlan, KY

Wed, 15 Nov 2017 05:00:00 +0000

In November 1931, as chairman of the National Committee for the Defense of Political Prisoners, well known author Theodore Dreiser organized a special committee to infiltrate Kentucky’s Harlan coal mines to investigate allegations of crimes and abuses against striking miners. The self-appointed group of left-leaning writers (including Theodore Dreiser, Lewis Mumford, John Dos Passos, and […]

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The Santa Train pulls into town

Tue, 14 Nov 2017 05:00:00 +0000

In Appalachia Santa Claus comes the weekend before Thanksgiving. Since 1943, the Santa Special, more commonly known as the Santa Train, has traveled 110 miles through the mountains of eastern Kentucky, southwest Virginia and northeastern Tennessee to distribute loads of candy, toys and other goodies to eager bystanders, most of whom have made it a […]

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This strange music of the dulcimore appeals to the heart of the Mountaineer

Mon, 13 Nov 2017 05:00:18 +0000

Just as there is a vast gap between the poetry of art and the poetry of the folk, so is there a vast difference between the music of the Sourwood Mountain fiddler and the music of art.

This antique musician knows little about Wagner and the musical drama and the Italian melodists, and cares less. His music causes a feeling of ennui to steal over one, but he is giving his hearers something they can understand. His strains are the outbursts from the depths of a being that is sincere, and he fiddles and sings because he feels.

In the words of Svenstrupp, the great Danish authority on folksongs, the words of these canticles of love and woe "talk like a mother crooning to her babe, and have scarcely a kenning." It is related that when the maidservant used to sing "Barbara Allen's Cruelty" to little Oliver Goldsmith, he would shed tears; that the recital of "Chevy Chace" moved Sir Philip Sidney as nothing else could move him.

But the transition to a new and enlightened age is inevitable.

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Muralist Lola Poston and the Lincoln Theatre

Sun, 12 Nov 2017 05:00:00 +0000

Her paintings were shown at the 1939 World’s Fair, and she helped decorate the White House during the Roosevelt Administration. But the artistic highlight of Lola Poston’s painting career was surely the six 15×20 ft. murals she created in 1929 for the auditorium of the newly built Lincoln Theatre, a talking picture palace and vaudeville […]

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Strap that Alabama fan on my back!

Thu, 09 Nov 2017 05:00:00 +0000

Future champion college basketball coach Sonny Smith was born November 15, 1936 in Roan Mountain, TN, the son of a mill worker and a cafeteria employee at the local schools. His hometown, he said years later, wasn’t the end of the world—but that you could see it from there. He said there were so many […]

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They pulled the candy and laughed and frolicked

Wed, 08 Nov 2017 05:00:00 +0000

You kin talk about y’r op’ras, y’r germans an’ all sich Y’r afternoon r’ceptions an’ them pleasures o’ the rich You kin feast upon y’r choc’lates an’ y’r creams an’ ices full But none of ‘em is ekal to a good old candy pull. For ther’ isn’t any perfume like the ‘lasses on the fire […]

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The year with two Thanksgivings

Mon, 06 Nov 2017 05:00:00 +0000

“I, Franklin D. Roosevelt, President of the United States of America, do hereby designate Thursday, the twenty-third of November 1939, as a day of general thanksgiving.” How appropriate that Roosevelt’s proclamation was issued on Halloween, the day for tricks or treats. The average citizen was irritated and confused; big business was delighted. In the end, […]

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Jumping on a bear to fight fist and skull

Sat, 04 Nov 2017 05:00:00 +0000

“Him and his brother-in-law one night back years ago, about forty, went out a-bear huntin’, a-possum huntin’ or other, and treed a bear. He minded up the tree till it come down. I shot it. It rolled off down the mountain a piece, tore loose from the dogs, and run away on down the flat […]

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