By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon

We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: Blue Ridge Country
Author: Thomas, Jean, 1881-
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Blue Ridge Country" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.

                           AMERICAN FOLKWAYS

                       EDITED BY ERSKINE CALDWELL

                           BLUE RIDGE COUNTRY


                              JEAN THOMAS

                    DUELL, SLOAN & PEARCE · NEW YORK


                          COPYRIGHT, 1942, BY
                              JEAN THOMAS

                   All rights reserved, including
                   the right to reproduce this book



                             To My Brother

                         DOCTOR GEORGE G. BELL

                    A once itinerant "Tooth Dentist"
              who became the first Republican county judge
                  in more than a quarter of a century
                       at the mouth of Big Sandy
            and whose unique sentences have become legendary
                       throughout the Blue Ridge


                          APPALACHIAN RITUAL

                 Emerald nobility
                 Reaching to the sky,
                 Makes the eye a ruler
                 Fit to measure by.

                 In the spring an ecstasy
                 Lies upon the hills--
                 Purpling with new red-buds,
                 Ruffling colored frills.

                 Make an early ritual
                 For the mountain side;
                 Pine and beech are spectators,
                 White dogwood a bride.

                 Give a pair of ivory birch
                 For a wedding gift,
                 All the mountain side a church
                 Where wild flowers sift

                 Velvet carpet-petals down
                 To the edge of hill and town,
                 Showing wild-grape fringes through
                 Opal cloud-thrones dropped from blue.

                 Now the summer like a queen
                 Does her mountain home in green;
                 With a season for a bier
                 Some old majesty lies here.

                 Autumn gold is swift and fleet
                 With a wing upon the feet,
                 Rushing toward a winter breath
                 Pausing for immaculate death.

                 In such economic bliss
                 And a swift parenthesis--
                 In immortal mountain trails,
                 There are resurrection tales.

                 All the while the mountains know
                 Sudden death is never so.

                                  --Rachel Mack Wilson



           1. THE COUNTRY AND THE PEOPLE                     3
               THE LAND                                      3
               THE PEOPLE                                   10
               BLAZING THE TRAIL                            16
               THE MOUNTAINEER                              40
           2. LAND OF FEUDS AND STILLS                      46
               HATFIELDS AND MCCOYS                         46
               PEACEMAKER                                   55
               TAKING SIDES                                 72
               MARTIN-TOLLIVER TROUBLES                     91
               FAMILY HONOR                                105
           3. PRODUCTS OF THE SOIL                         112
               TIMBER                                      112
               WOMAN'S WORK                                117
           4. TRADITION                                    122
               PHILOMEL WHIFFET'S SINGING SCHOOL           122
               RIDDLES AND FORTUNES                        135
               THE INFARE WEDDING                          151
           5. RELIGIOUS CUSTOMS                            155
               FUNERALIZING                                155
               OLD CHRISTMAS                               158
               FOOT-WASHING                                161
               NEW LIGHT                                   164
           6. SUPERSTITION                                 168
               BIG SANDY RIVER                             168
               WATER WITCH                                 169
               MARRYING ON HORSEBACK                       172
               DEATH CROWN                                 177
               A WHITE FEATHER                             178
           7. LEGEND                                       180
               CROCKETT'S HOLLOW                           180
               THE SILVER TOMAHAWK                         186
               BLACK CAT                                   189
               THE DEER WOMAN AND THE FAWN                 194
               GHOST OF DEVIL ANSE                         199
               THE WINKING CORPSE                          203
               THE HOUSE WITH THE GREEN GABLES             205
           8. SINGING ON THE MOUNTAIN SIDE                 210
               OF LAND AND RIVER                           210
               FEUD                                        216
               LEGEND                                      218
               TRAGEDY                                     228
               PATRIOT                                     239
           9. RECLAIMING THE WILDERNESS                    248
               VANISHING FEUDIST                           248
               SILVER MOON TAVERN                          250
               BLOOMING STILLS                             255
               LEARNING                                    258
               MOUNTAIN MEN                                269
               COAL                                        273
               PUBLIC WORKS                                274
               BACK TO THE FARM                            283
               VALLEY OF PARKS                             301
               VANISHING TRAIL                             327
           INDEX                                           331


                          BLUE RIDGE COUNTRY

                     1. THE COUNTRY AND THE PEOPLE

                               THE LAND

High mountain walls and bridgeless streams marooned the people of the
Blue Ridge for centuries, shut them off from the outside world so that
they lost step with the onward march of civilization. A forgotten people
until yesterday, unlettered, content to wrest a meager living from the
grudging soil, they built for themselves a nation within a nation. By
their very isolation, they have preserved much of the best that is
America. They have held safe and unchanged the simple beauty of the song
of their fathers, the unsullied speech, the simple ideals and
traditions, staunch religious faith, love of freedom, courage and
fearlessness. Above all they have maintained a spirit of independence
and self-reliance that is unsurpassed anywhere in these United States of
America. They are a hardy race. The wilderness, the pure air, the rugged
outdoor life have made them so: a people in whom the Anglo-Saxon strain
has retained its purest line.

The Blue Ridge Country comprises much of Appalachia, happily called from
the great chain that runs along the Atlantic coast from the Gulf of St.
Lawrence to the Gulf of Mexico. It is a well-watered region having
numerous streams and rivers throughout, being drained by the Cumberland
and Tennessee as well as by smaller, though equally well-known,
rivers--Big Sandy in northeastern Kentucky, which flows into the Ohio,
and the Yadkin in North Carolina, which eventually reaches the Atlantic

In general the region includes three parallel chains, the Cumberlands,
Alleghenies, and Blue Ridge. Like a giant backbone the Blue Ridge,
beginning in the southwest portion of Old Virginia, continues
northeasterly, holding together along its mountainous vertebrae some
eight southern states; northeastern Kentucky, all of West Virginia, the
eastern part of Tennessee, western North Carolina, the four northwestern
counties of South Carolina, and straggling foothills in northern Georgia
and northeastern Alabama. The broad valley of the Tennessee River
separates the mountain system on the west from the Cumberland Plateau
which is an extension of the West Virginia and Kentucky roughs.

Throughout its vast course the Blue Ridge is not cut by a single river.
A narrow rampart, it rises abruptly on its eastern side south of the
Potomac to a height of some two thousand feet, cutting Virginia into
eastern and western, and descends as abruptly on the west to the
Shenandoah Valley. Similar in topography in its rough, broken steepness
to the Alleghenies across the valley, it consists of a multitude of
saddles or dividing ridges many of which attain an elevation of six
thousand feet. As it extends south, rising from the Piedmont Plateau, it
grows higher. In North Carolina alone there are twenty-one peaks that
exceed Mt. Washington's six thousand feet in New Hampshire. Contiguous
to the Blue Ridge there is another chain between the states of North
Carolina and Tennessee, which to Carolina mountaineers is still the
Alleghenies. However, the United States Geological Survey has another
name for it--the Unakas. It is higher as a whole than the Blue Ridge to
which it is joined by transverse ranges with such names as Beech and
Balsam and a sprinkling of Indian names--Cowee, Nantahala, Tusquitee. It
differs, too, in physical aspect. Instead of being in orderly parallel
tiers the entire system, unlike the Blue Ridge, is cut by many rivers:
the Nolichucky, French Broad, Pigeon, Little Tennessee, Hiawassee. The
parts so formed by the dividing rivers are also named: Iron, Northern
Unaka, Bald, Great Smoky, Southern Unaka or Unicoi. Though many of its
summits exceed six thousand feet, the chain itself dwindles to foothills
by the time it reaches Georgia and crosses into Alabama.

If you flew high over the vast domain of the Blue Ridge, you would view
a country of contrasting physical features: river and cascade, rapids
and waterfall, peak and plateau, valley and ridge. Its surface is
rougher, its trails steeper, the descents deeper, and there are more of
them to the mile than anywhere else in the United States.

The southern mountaineer has to travel many steep, rocky roads to get to
any level land, so closely are the mountains of Appalachia crowded
together. It is the geography of their country that has helped to keep
our highlanders so isolated all these years.

This region has the finest body of hardwood timber in the United States.
Black walnut is so plentiful and so easy for the carpenter to work that
this wood has been used freely for gunstocks and furniture, and even in
barns, fences, and porches.

White and yellow poplars grow sometimes six to nine feet in diameter.
"Wide enough for a marrying couple, their waiters, and the elder to
stand on," a mountaineer will say, pointing out a tree stump left smooth
by the cross-cut saw. The trunks are sixty to seventy feet to the first
limb. Chestnuts are even wider, though sometimes not so tall. White oaks
grow to enormous size. Besides pine, and the trees common generally to
our country, these southern mountain forests are filled with buckeye,
gum, basswood, cucumber, sourwood, persimmon, lynn. The growth is so
heavy that there are few bare rocks or naked cliffs. Even the "bald"
peculiar to the region which is sometimes found on the crown of a
mountain belies its name, for it is covered with grass--not of the
useless sage type either, but an excellent grass on which sheep might
"use" if they chose to climb so high.

The lover of beauty finds delight in these mountains from the first
daintiness of spring on through the glorious blaze of wonder that is
fall in the Blue Ridge. Beginning with the tan fluff of the beeches, the
red flowering of maples, the feathery white blooms of the "sarvis," on
through the redbud's gaiety and the white dogwood's stark purity, all is
loveliness. The enchantment continues in the flame of azaleas, which is
followed by the waxy pink of the laurel and the superb glory of the
rhododendron. These have scarcely vanished before the coves are golden
with the fragrance of grape blossom.

The beauty of the woodland is a paradise for birds. Early in the spring
the spotted thrush wings its way through leafy boughs. The cardinal in
his bright red coat stays the year round. Neither snow nor winter wind
dulls his plumage or stills his song. His mate, in somber green, sings
too, but he, unmindful of southern chivalry, attacks her furiously when
she bursts into song; ornithologists explain that jealousy prompts the
ungallant act. The oriole singing lustily in the spring would seem
conscious of his coat of orange and black. These are the heraldic colors
worn by the servants of Lord Baltimore. The nightingale and the
whippoorwill sing unpretentiously in the quiet of eventide. The
blackbird makes up for his somber dress in good deeds. He destroys
insects on leaf and bark. The eagle still finds a haven of safety in
giant trees and hollowed trunks.

There is neither tarantula nor scorpion to be feared in the Blue Ridge;
the harmless lizard is called scorpion by the mountaineer. Nor are there
large poisonous reptiles. There are snakes of lesser caliber, but only
rattlers and copperheads among them are venomous. The highlander is not
bedeviled by biting ants but there are fleas and flies in abundance
though no mosquitoes, thanks to the absence of stagnant pools and lakes.
There are no large lakes as in the eastern section of the United States
and few small ones though the country has numerous cascades, rapids, and

The Blue Ridge is a well-watered region, and characteristic of the
country are the innumerable springs which form creeks and small streams.
A mild and bracing climate results from these physical features. The
rapidity with which the streams rise and their swiftness, together with
almost constant breezes in the mountains, reduce the humidity so
prevalent in the southern lowlands. Although the rainfall is greater
than anywhere else in the United States, except Florida, the sudden fall
in the topography of the watercourses brings quick drainage. The sun may
be scorching hot in an unprotected corn patch on a hillside, yet it is
cool in the shade. And, as in California and the north woods, a blanket
is needed at night. The climate is contrasting, being coldest in the
highlands where the temperature is almost as low as that of northern
Maine. Yet nowhere in the United States is it warmer than in the
lowlands of the Blue Ridge.

In the highlands, carboniferous rocks produce a sandy loam which is
responsible for the vast timber growth there. Throughout it is rich in
minerals, coal, iron, and even gold, which has been mined in Georgia. In
some sections there are fertile undulating uplands contrasting with the
quagmired bottoms and rocky uplands of other parts of the Blue Ridge.
There are high and uninviting quaternary bluffs that lure only the eye.
It was the fertile valleys with their rich limestone soil producing
abundant cane that first proved irresistible to the immigrants of Europe
and lured them farther inland from the Atlantic seaboard.

Long before man came with ax and arrow the wilderness of the Blue Ridge
teemed with wild animal life. The bones of mastodon and mammoth remained
to attest their supremacy over an uninhabited land thousands upon
thousands of years ago. Then, following the prehistoric and glacial
period, more recent fauna--buffalo, elk, deer, bear, and wolf--made
paths through the forest from salt lick to refreshing spring. These salt
licks that had been deposited by a receding ocean centuries before came
to have names. Big Bone Lick located in what today is Boone County,
Kentucky, was one of the greatest and oldest animal rendezvous in North
America, geologists claim. It took its name doubtless from the variety
of bones of prehistoric and later fauna found imbedded in the salty

Man, like beast, sought both salt and water. Following the animal trails
came the mound builder. But when he vanished, leaving his earthen house
and the crude utensils that filled his simple needs--for the mound
builder was not a warrior--there was but little of his tradition from
which to reconstruct his life and customs.

A century passed before the Indian in his trek through the wilderness
followed the path of buffalo and deer. Came the Shawnee, Cherokee, and
Chickasaw to fight and hunt. To the Indian the Blue Ridge was a favorite
hunting ground with its forests and rolling plains, while the fertile
valleys with thick canebrakes offered bread in abundance. Sometimes
these primeval trails which they followed took their names from the
purpose they served. For instance, the Athiamiowee trail was, in the
Miami dialect, the Path of the Armed Ones or the Armed Path and became
known as the Warrior's Path. It was the most direct line of
communication between the Shawnees and the Cherokees, passing due south
across the eastern part of the Cuttawa country (Kentucky) from the mouth
of the Sciotha (Scioto) to the head of the Cherokee (Tennessee). Another
trail was called Old Buffalo Path, another Limestone because of the
soil. Then there was a Shawnee Trail named for the tribe that traversed

The Indian was happy and content with his hunting ground and the fertile
fields. The streams he converted to his use for journeys by canoe. He
had his primitive stone plow to till the soil and his stone mill for
grinding grain. The fur of animals provided warm robes, the tanned hides
gave him moccasins. Tribal traditions were pursued unmolested, though at
times the tribes engaged in warfare. Each tribe buried its dead in its
own way and when a tribe wearied of one location it moved on. Unlike the
mound builders, the Indian had a picture language and he delighted to
record it in cuttings on rocks and trees. He would peel the bark from
the bole of a tree and with a sharp stone instrument carve deep into the
wood figures of feather-decked chieftains, of drums, arrows, wild
beasts. And having carved these symbols of the life about him, depicting
scenes of the hunt and battle and conflict, he covered the carving with
paint fashioned in his crude way from the colored earth on the mountain
side. The warrior like his picture language vanished in time from the
Blue Ridge. But not his trails.

These trails, the path of buffalo and deer and the lines of
communication between the tribes, finally marked the course of explorer,
hunter, and settler. As each in turn made his way to the wilderness he
was glad indeed to find paths awaiting his footsteps. The scene was set
for a rugged race. They came and stayed.

                              THE PEOPLE

The men and women who came to settle this region were a stalwart race,
the men usually six feet in height, the women gaunt and prolific. They
were descendants of English, Scotch, and Scotch-Irish who landed along
the Atlantic coast at the close of the sixteenth century--around 1635,
when the oppression of rulers drove them from England, Scotland, and
Ireland. Some were impelled by love of religious freedom, while others
sought political liberty in the new world. Their migration to America
really started with a project, a project that had its beginning in
Ireland as far back as 1610. It was called the English invasion of
Ireland. King after king in England had sent colonists to the Emerald
Isle and naturally the native sons resented their coming. Good Queen
Bess in turn continued with the project and tried to keep peace between
the invaders and the invaded by donating lands there to court favorites.
But the bickerings went on. It was not until after Elizabeth's death
that King James I of England worked out a better project--temporarily at
least. He sent sturdy, stubborn, tenacious Scots to Ulster; their
natures made of them better fighters than the Irish upon whose lands
they had been transplanted. But even though it was English rulers who
had "planted" them there the Scots were soon put to all sorts of trials
and persecution. They resented heartily the King's levy of tax upon the
poteen which they had learned to make from their adopted Irish brothers.
Resentment grew to hatred of excise laws, hatred of authority that would
enforce any such laws. These burned deep in the breast of the
Scotch-Irish, so deep that they live to this day in the hearts of their
descendants in the southern mountains.

So political strife, resentment toward governmental authority, hatred
toward individuals acting for the rulers developed into feuds. In some
such way the making of poteen and feuds were linked hand-in-hand long
before the Anglo-Celtic and Anglo-Saxon set foot in the wilderness of

They were pawns of the Crown, used to suppress the uprisings of the
Irish Catholics and in turn themselves even more unfairly treated by the
Crown. They could not--these Presbyterians--worship as they chose;
rather the place and form was set by the State. Their ships were barred
from foreign trade, even with America; they were forbidden to ship
products or cattle back to England, though after the Great Fire of
London, Ireland generously sent thousands of head of cattle to London.
Barred then from engaging in profitable cattle trade, they turned to
growing wool. This too was defeated by prohibitive duties, and when
Ireland undertook to engage in producing linen, England thwarted that
industry too. They were forbidden to possess arms, they were expelled
from the militia, and what with incessantly being called upon to pay
tithes, added rents, and cess they had little left to call their own,
little to show for their labors. Then adding insult to injury, the Crown
declared illegitimate the children born of a marriage performed by the
ministers of these Presbyterians, so that such offspring could not
legally inherit the lands of their parents.

Oppressed and persecuted for a century, they could bear it no longer;
these transplanted Scotch-Irish (as America came to call them) turned
their faces to the new world.

The massacres of 1641 sent them across the uncharted seas in great
numbers. And to stimulate and spur their continued migration to America
these "adventurers" and "planters" were offered land in Maryland by Lord
Baltimore--three thousand acres for every thirty persons brought into
the state, with the provision of "free liberty of religion." But
Pennsylvania offered a heartier welcome and "genuine religious liberty"

Oppression and unfairness continued to grow in Ireland. Protestants
there had never owned outright the land which they struggled to clear
and cultivate. Moreover they toiled without pay. Protest availed them
little. And the straw that broke the camel's back was laid on in the
form of rent by Lord Donegal. In 1717 when their leases had expired in
County Antrim, they found themselves in a worse predicament than ever.
Their rents were doubled and trebled. Now, to hand over more than two
thirds of what they had after all the other taxes that had been imposed
upon them left them with little or nothing. How was a man to pay the
added rent? Pay or get out! demanded Lord Donegal. Eviction from the
lands which their toil had developed--a wasteland converted into fertile
productive fields--stirred these Scotch-Irish to fury. They didn't sit
and tweedle their thumbs. Not the Scotch-Irish.

In 1719, just two years after the Antrim Eviction, thirty thousand more
Protestants left Ulster for America. They continued to come for the next
half century, settling in various parts of our land. There was a goodly
settlement in the Virginia Valley of Scotch-Irish. You'd know by their
names--Grigsby, Caruthers, Crawford, and McCuen.

As early as 1728 a sturdy Scot from Ulster, by name Alexander
Breckinridge, was settled in the Shenandoah Valley, though later he was
to be carried with the tide of emigration that led to Kentucky.

Naturally, first come first served--so the settlers who arrived first on
the scene chose for themselves the more accessible and fertile lands,
the valleys and rich limestone belts at the foot of the Blue Ridge and
the Alleghenies. The Proprietors of Pennsylvania, who had settled on
vast tracts, were prevailed upon by the incoming Scotch-Irish to sell
them parts of their lands. The newcomers argued that it was "contrary to
the laws of God and nature that so much land should lie idle when
Christians wanted it to labor on and raise their bread." But that wasn't
the only reason the Scotch-Irish had. There were other things in the
back of their heads. A burnt child fears the fire. Their unhappy
experience in Ulster had taught them a bitter lesson and one they should
never forget, not even to the third and fourth generation. They would
not be renters! Hadn't they been tricked out of land in Ulster? They
would not rent! They would buy outright. And buy they did from the
Proprietors at a nominal figure. Nor were the Pennsylvanians blind to
the fact that the newcomers were good fighters and that they could act
as a barrier against Indian attacks on the settlement's fringe. There
was still a fly in the ointment for the Scotch-Irish. That was--the
Proprietors' exacting from them an annual payment of a few cents per
acre. It wasn't so much the amount that irked the newcomers as the legal
hold on their land it gave the Proprietors. They objected stoutly and
didn't give up their protest until their perseverance put an end to the
system of "quitrents."

This cautious characteristic persists to this day with the mountaineer
and can be traced back to the persecution of his forbears in Ulster.
Mountaineers in Kentucky refused point-blank to accept fruit trees
offered them gratis by a legislator in 1913, fearing it would give the
state a hold on their land.

But to get back to the settling of the Blue Ridge Country.

When political and religious refugees continued to come to America in
such vast shoals they found the settlements along the Atlantic coast
already well occupied by Huguenots who had been driven from France, by
Quakers, Puritans, and Catholics from England, Palatine Germans escaping
the scourge of the Thirty Years' War. Here too were Dunkers, Mennonites,
Moravians from Holland and Germany. Among them also were followers of
Cromwell who had fled the vengeance of Charles II, Scots of the
Highlands who could not be loyal to the Stuarts and at the same time
friends to King George.

The Scotch-Irish among the newcomers wanted land of their
own--independence. Above all independence. So they drifted down the
coast to the western fringe of settlement and established themselves in
the foothills east of the Blue Ridge in what is now the Carolinas.
Migration might just as well have moved west from Virginia and across
the Alleghenies. However, not only did the mountains themselves present
an impenetrable barrier, but settlers were forbidden to cross by
"proclamation of the authorities" on account of the hostility of the
Indians on the west of the mountain range. Then too there were inviting
fertile valleys on this eastern side of the Blue Ridge, where they might

But these newcomers, at least the Scotch-Irish among them, were not
primarily men who wanted to till the soil. They were not by nature
farmers like the Germans in Pennsylvania. And they did not intend to
become underlings of their more prosperous predecessors and neighbors
who had already taken root in the valleys and who had set up projects to
further their own gains. Furthermore, being younger in the new world
they were more adventurous. The wilderness with its hunting and
exploring beckoned. And so they pressed on deeper into the mountains.
There was always more room the higher up they climbed. And as they moved
on they carried along with them, as a surging stream gathers up the life
along its course, a sprinkling of all the various denominations whose
lives they touched among the settlements along the coast.

In that day many men were so eager for freedom and a chance to get a
fresh start that before sailing, through the enterprises set up by
shipowners and emigration agents, they bound themselves by written
indentures to work for a certain period of time. These persons were
called Indents. Their labor was sold, so that in reality they were
little more than slaves. When finally they had worked out their time
they had earned their freedom, and were called Redemptioners. The
practice of selling Redemptioners continued until the year 1820, all of
forty-four years after "Honest" John Hart had signed his name to the
Declaration of Independence. It is said that a lineal descendant of
Emperor Maximilian was so bound in Georgia.

Many were imposed upon in another way. Their baggage and possessions
were often confiscated and even though friends waited on this side ready
to pay their passage, innocent men and women were duped into sale.

Then there were the so-called convicts among the pioneers of the Blue
Ridge. It must be remembered that in those days offense constituting
crime was often a mere triviality. Men were imprisoned for debt; even so
they were labeled convicts. But, as Dr. James Watt Raine assures us in
his _The Land of Saddle-Bags_, the few such convicts who were sent by
English judges to America could scarcely have produced the five million
or more people who today are known as southern mountain people.

Widely different though they were in blood, speech, and customs, there
was an underlying similarity in the nature of these pioneers. It was
their love of independence. Independence that impelled them to give up
the security of civilization to brave the perils of uncharted seas, the
hazards of warfare with hostile Indians, to seek homes in an untamed

                           BLAZING THE TRAIL

Sometimes a single explorer went ahead of the rest with a few friendly
Indians to accompany him. If not he went alone, tramping into the
forest, living in a rough shack, suffering untold hardship through
bitter winter months. For weeks when he had neither meal nor flour he
lived on meat alone--deer and bear. It was the stories of valuable furs
and the vast quantities of them which trickled back to the settlements
that lured others to follow. Hunters and trappers came bringing their
families. The stories of furs and the promise of greater possessions to
be had in the wilderness grew and so did the number of adventurers. They
began to form little settlements and their coming crowded before them
the earlier hunter or trapper who wanted always the field to himself.

In the meantime settlers in the Valley of Virginia were growing more
smug and prosperous. They wanted to invest part of their earnings. They
wanted to set up other undertakings. So they began sending out
expeditions into the wilderness with the intention of trading with the
Indians and possibly of securing lands for settlers.

As early as 1673 young Gabriel Arthur had set out on an expedition for
his master Colonel Abraham Wood of Virginia with a small party. Through
the Valley of Virginia went the young adventurer, taking the
well-defined Warrior's Path; he followed watercourses and gaps that cut
through high mountain walls, down the Holston River through Tennessee,
through the "great gap" into the Cuttawa country. Finally separated from
his companions, the lad lost all count of time. Even if he had had a
calendar tucked away in the pocket of his deerskin coat, however, it
would have done him no good for he could neither read nor write. Weeks
and months passed. Winter came. Finally after many adventures young
Arthur started on the long journey back to Virginia. As he drew near
Colonel Wood's home he heard merriment within and the voice of his
master wishing his household a merry Christmas. Not till then did the
young adventurer know how long he had been away.

With the master and the household and the friends who had gathered to
celebrate and offer thanks at the Yuletide season, with all listening
eagerly, young Gabriel Arthur, though unable to bring back any written
record, told many a stirring tale. A swig of wine may have spurred the
telling of how he had been captured by the Shawnees (in Ohio), of how he
had been surrounded by a wild, shouting tribe who tied him to a stake
and were about to put a flaming torch to his feet when he thought of a
way to save his life. They were charmed with the gun he carried, and the
shiny knife at his belt. If they'd set him free he promised to bring
them many, many knives and guns. Once young Gabriel made his escape he
didn't intend to be caught napping again. He painted his fair face with
wild berry juice, and color from bark and herbs. After much wandering he
found himself with friendly Cherokees in the upper Tennessee Valley.
They were so friendly, in fact, that a couple of them accompanied him on
his return to Virginia. He returned along other watercourses--by way of
the Rockcastle and Kentucky Rivers. He crossed the Big Sandy--the
Indians called it Chatterawha and Totteroy. He got out of their canoe at
a point where the Totteroy flows into the Ohio and stood on the bank and
looked about at the far-off hills. So it was young Gabriel Arthur who
was the first white man to set foot in Kentucky, and that at the mouth
of the Big Sandy.

Young Gabriel's tales traveled far. Soon others, fired with the spirit
of adventure, were turning to the wilderness. Nor was adventure the only
spur. Investors as well as hunters and trappers saw promise of profits
in Far Appalachia. Cartographers were put to work. A glimpse at their
drawings shows interesting and similar observations.

In 1697 Louis Hennepin's map indicated the territory south of the Great
Lakes, including the southern Appalachians and extending as far west as
the Mississippi River and a route which passed through a "gap across the
Appalachians to the Atlantic seaboard." Later the map of a Frenchman
named Delisle labeled the great continental path leading to the
Carolinas "Route que les François." Successive maps all showed the
passing over the Cumberland Mountain at the great wind gap, indicating
portages and villages of the Chaouanona (Shawnees) in the river valleys.
Lewis Evans' map in 1755 of "The Middle British Colonies in America"
shows the courses of the Totteroy (Big Sandy River) and of the Kentucky
River. Thomas Hutchins in 1788, who became a Captain in the 60th Royal
American Regiment of Foot, was appointed Geographer General under
General Nathanael Greene and had unusual opportunity to observe
geographically the vast wilderness beyond the Alleghenies. On his map
the Kentucky River (where Boone was to establish a fort) was called the
Cuttawa, the Green River was the Buffalo, the Cumberland was indicated
as Shawanoe, and the Tennessee was the Cherokee. Though there were
numerous trails in the Cumberland plateau, the Geographer General
indicated only one, the Warrior's Path which he called the "Path to the
Cuttawa Country." He too showed the Gap in the "Ouasioto" Mountains
leading to the Cuttawa Country.

With the increase of map-making, more projects were launched. There were
large colonizing schemes to induce settlement along the frontier, but
colonizing was not the only idea in the heads of the wealthy Virginia
investors. They were not unmindful of the riches in furs to be garnered
in the Blue Ridge. In this connection Dr. Thomas Walker's expedition for
the Loyal Land Company in 1750 was important. Dr. Walker, an Englishman,
was sent into what is now Kentucky where the company had a grant of
"eight hundred thousand acres." A man could buy fifty acres for five
shillings sterling, the doctor explained. He was not only a physician
but a surveyor as well, and primarily the purpose of these early
expeditions was surveying--to lay out the boundaries of the land to be
sold to incoming settlers. Such an expedition was composed usually of
some six or eight men each equipped with horse, dog, and gun.
Fortunately the doctor-surveyor was not illiterate like young Gabriel
Arthur. Walker set down an interesting account of the expedition which
was especially glowing from the trader's point of view. In their four
months in the wilderness the Walker expedition killed, aside from
buffalo, wild geese, and turkeys, fifty-three bears and twenty deer. And
the doctor added that they could have trebled the number. Walker
followed the Warrior's Path as young Gabriel Arthur had more than
seventy years before. The rivers they crossed, as well as the places on
the way which were sometimes no more than salt licks, bore Indian names.
But when Dr. Walker reached the great barrier between Kentucky and
Virginia he was so deeply moved by the vastness and grandeur of the
mountains that he called his companions about him. "It is worthy of a
noble name," said Dr. Walker. "Let us call it Cumberland for our Duke in
far-off England." When the expedition reached the gap that permitted
them to pass through into the Cuttawa country he cried exultantly, "This
too shall be named for our Duke." So Cumberland Gap it became and the
mountain known to pioneers as Laurel Mountain became instead Cumberland

The doctor-surveyor could not know that one day he would be hailed as
"the first white man in Cumberland Gap" by those sturdy settlers who
were to follow his course. When Dr. Walker reached the Indians' Totteroy
River, or rather the two forks that combine to make it, he called the
stream to the right, which touched West Virginia soil, Louisa or Levisa
for the wife of the Duke of Cumberland.

This leader of the expedition of the Loyal Land Company jotted down much
that he saw. There was the amazing "burning spring" that shot up right
out of the earth, its flame so brilliant the doctor could read his map
by the glow at a distance of several miles. Apparently he was not
concerned with the cause but rather with the effect of the burning
spring. He saw the painted picture language of the Indians on mountain
side and tree trunk.

Dr. Walker returned on a second expedition in 1758, but he gained only
partial knowledge of the wilderness land. However, the mountain he named
determined the course of the trail which was to be laid out by Daniel
Boone, and the gap through which he passed became the gateway for
thousands of horizon-seekers.

Their coming was not without hazard.

The southern Indians resented the invasion of their hunting ground by
the English. The French-Indians incited by the French settlers in the
Mississippi Valley who wanted the wealth of fur-bearing animals for
themselves, began to swoop down on the settlements of the
English-speaking people along the frontier, massacring them by the

The Assembly in Philadelphia turned a deaf ear to the frontiersmen's
plea for help, so the Scotch-Irish, accustomed to fighting for their
rights, organized companies of Rangers to defend themselves against the
attacks of the Indians. With continued massacre of their people their
desperation grew. If they could have no voice in governmental matters in
Pennsylvania and could expect no protection from that source against the
warring Indians, they could move on. They did. On down the Valley of
Virginia they came into Carolina. They built their little cabins,
planted crops, and by 1764 had laid out two townships, one of which,
Mecklenburg, figured in an important way in America's independence.

As each settlement became more thickly settled the more venturesome
spirits pressed on into the mountains. And as they moved forward,
clearing forests and planting ground for their bread, they dislodged
hunters and trappers who had preceded them. For all of them there was
always the troublesome Indian to be reckoned with. A cunning warrior, he
pounced upon the newcomer at most unexpected times. To maintain a
measure of safety the pioneer began to build block houses and forts
along the watercourses traveled by the Indians. Fur-trading posts were
set up by the Crown but even when the Indian seemed satisfied with the
exchange he might take prisoner a trader or explorer and subject him to
torture, or even put him to death. The homes of settlers were objects of
constant attack. It would take white men of more cunning than the Indian
to deal with him: fearless and daring fighters.

About the time Dr. Walker had started on his expedition in 1755, a
family living in Pennsylvania packed up their belongings and moved down
into the Valley of Virginia. There were the father, his sons, and his
brothers. They hadn't stayed long in Rockingham County, barely long
enough to raise a crop, when they moved again. This time they journeyed
on down to the valley of the Yadkin River in North Carolina and there
they stayed. All but one son--Daniel Boone, a lad of eighteen. Even as a
boy he had roamed the woods alone, and once was lost for days. When his
father and friends found him, guided by a stream of smoke rising in the
distance, Daniel wasn't in tears. Instead, seated on the pelt of a wild
animal he had killed and roasting a piece of its meat at the fire, he
was whistling gaily. He had made for himself a crude shelter of branches
and pelts. It was useless to chide his son, the older Boone found out.
So he saved his breath and let Daniel roam at his will. Soon the boy was
exploring and hunting farther and farther into the mountains.

On one such venture the young hunter alone "cilled a bar" and left the
record of his feat carved with his hunting knife upon a tree. His
imagination was fired with the tales of warfare about him, of the
courage and independence of the men who dwelt far up in the mountains.
He knew of the heroism of George Washington who, four years after the
Boones left Pennsylvania, had led a company of mountain men against the
French. He had heard the stories of how Washington had been driven back
with his mountain men at Great Meadows. Boone longed to be in the thick
of the fray. So in 1755, when General Braddock came to "punish the
French for their insolence" and Washington accompanied him with one
hundred mountain men from North Carolina, Daniel Boone, for all his
youth, was among them--as brave a fighter and as skilled a shot as the

This was high adventure for young Daniel. It spurred him to further
daring, and he set out on more and more distant explorations. Each time
he returned from his trips with marvelous tales of what he had seen, of
unbelievable numbers of buffalo and deer and wild beasts he had
encountered. He always had an audience. No one listened with greater
eagerness than the pretty dark-eyed daughter of the Bryans who were
neighbors to the Boones. Daniel was still a young man, only
twenty-three, when in 1755 he married Rebecca Bryan. They had five sons
and four daughters. Rebecca stayed home and took care of the children,
while her adventurous husband continued to rove and hunt on long

Neighbors gossiped, even in a pioneer settlement. They said Daniel
wasn't nice to Rebecca, going away all the time on such long hunting
trips. They even talked to Rebecca about her careless husband. But
Rebecca paid little heed, though she may have chided him in private for
returning so tattered. Sometimes his hunting coat, which was a loose
frock with a cape made from dressed deerskin, would literally be tied
together when he returned. Even the fringe which Rebecca had
painstakingly cut to trim his leggings and coat had been left hanging on
jagged rocks and underbrush through which he had dragged himself. His
coonskin cap, with the bushy brush of it hanging down on his neck, was
sometimes a sorry sight. One can hear Rebecca asking, as the hunter
removed his outer garments, "Were there no creeks on your journey?" His
leather belt he hung upon a wall peg after he had oiled it with bear
grease. His tomahawk which he always wore on the right side, and the
hunting knife which he carried on the left with his powder horn and
bullet pouch, he laid carefully aside. He inspected his trusty flintlock
rifle.... He had slept under cliffs, wrapped in his buffalo blanket with
his dog, with leaves and brush for a pillow. His thick club of hair had
not been untied in weeks. The chute bark with which it was fastened was
full of chinks. There was something worse. "What are you scratching
for?" Rebecca would pause from stirring the kettle at the hearth, to
survey her husband who was digging his fingers into his scalp. "Lice!"
gasped Rebecca. Instead of jowering, she would give him a good
scrubbing, comb out his matted hair, and clean him up generally and

Daniel was a restless soul. And every time he returned home he was more
restless. So the Boones moved from place to place and each time others
went along with them. Daniel had a knack of leadership, but no sooner
would everyone be settled around him than he'd pack up and go to another
place. Daniel couldn't be crowded. He had to have elbow room no matter
where he had to go to get it.

In the twenty-five years he spent in North Carolina Boone cleared
ground, cut timber, and built a home many times--and all the while he
continued to hunt and explore.

Finally returning from one of his long expeditions he told glowing tales
of another country he had found. Bears were so thick, and deer, it would
take a crew of men to help him kill them and salvage the rich hides. He
persuaded Rebecca to come along with him and bring the children. Once
more Rebecca packed up their few worldly goods, while Daniel made sure
his guns were well oiled, his hunting knife whetted, his dogs fit for
the journey--they meant as much to Boone as wife and children, gossips
said--and the family started for a new home.

This time, in 1760, they went far from the Yadkin into the Watauga
country of Tennessee. He crossed the Blue Ridge and the Unakas, and
settled in what was then western North Carolina, now eastern Tennessee.
That year he led a company as far westward as Abingdon, Virginia. But no
sooner were they settled than Daniel up and left to go deeper into the

Not only was he a great hunter, he was a good advance agent. Soon,
through his glowing accounts, the fame of the country spread far, even
to Pennsylvania and Virginia. Hunters came to join him. Some stayed with
him wherever he went. It was through his leadership that the first
permanent settlement was made in Tennessee in 1768.

But to go back a year. In 1767 Boone worked his way over the Big Sandy
Trail in the country which Dr. Walker had seen back in 1750. Daniel
lived alone in a crude hut on a fork of the Big Sandy River, close to a
salt lick, you may be sure, for he had to have salt to season the wild
meat which was his only food. He too saw the burning spring that had
helped Dr. Walker to scrutinize his maps at night. In 1768 he entered
Kentucky through Cumberland Gap and traversed the Warrior's Path. From
Pilot Knob he viewed the Great Meadow. That would be something more to
tell about when he got back home.

Though his neighbors may have considered him a shiftless fellow
concerned only with hunting and exploring, a fellow who was ever moving
from pillar to post, his very first visit to Watauga was not without

It was the way of the wilderness that settlers followed the first
hunters, and Boone with his companions had been in Watauga first in
1760. Eight years afterward a few families had followed the hunters'
trail for good reason.

Things had been going miserably for immigrants in North Carolina. The
situation was fast reaching a desperate point. Some of the oppressed
were for violence if that was needed to obtain justice in the courts.
Others reasoned that there was a better way out. Why not move away in a
body? The wilderness of the Blue Ridge beckoned. It was under Virginia
rule and perhaps life would not be so hard there. Because of Indian
treaties the lands had been surveyed in those rugged western reaches and
could be legally leased or even purchased. The more level-headed
mountain people reasoned in this way: Why not send one of their number
on ahead to look over the region, negotiate for boundaries, and stake
them out for families who decided to take up their abode there? A
Scotch-Irishman named James Robertson took upon himself this task.

During this period of unrest in North Carolina, Boone had returned with
Rebecca and the children to Watauga where they found others to welcome
them. If indeed Daniel needed a welcome or wanted it. Again he cleared a
piece of ground and built a log house. But the smoke no sooner curled up
from the chimney than scores of Scotch-Irish from North Carolina, who
could no longer bear the injustice of government officials, began to
crowd into the valley around him. This irked Daniel, for he loved the
freedom of the wilds. "I've got to have elbow room," he complained to
Rebecca, "I know a place--"

The Scotch-Irish, however, stayed on in Watauga.

They had had enough of injustice and were glad to escape a country where
the more prosperous were making life hard for the less fortunate
immigrants who continued to come down the Virginia Valley, and the
mountain people who settled in the rugged western part of the state.
Like their Scotch-Irish brothers in Pennsylvania, they had determined to
find a remedy. They remembered how the Rangers in the Pennsylvania
border settlements had been forced to take matters in their own hands to
protect life and home, and they organized their protective band called
the Regulators. If armed force was needed, they meant to use it. They
found the Governor as indifferent to their appeals for fairness as the
Pennsylvania Assembly had been to the Rangers' protests. If North
Carolina's Governor had been a man of cool and fair judgment, the
tragedy of Alamance might have been averted. On the other hand, the
first decisive step toward American independence might have been lost,
or at least delayed.

In ironic response to the pleas of the Regulators, the Governor of North
Carolina summoned a force of one thousand militia men and led them into
the western settlements. At the end of the day, May 16, 1771, two
hundred and fifty of the two thousand Regulators who had gathered with
their rifles at Alamance when they heard of the coming of the militia,
lay dead. The living were forced to retreat.

If Robertson had planned his return it could not have come at a more
auspicious moment. His neighbors had been sorely tried. They eagerly
welcomed words of a better land in which to live, and sixteen families
followed their leader to the Watauga country.

Things loomed dark for the new settlers for a time. It turned out that
the lands staked out for them were neither in Virginia nor Carolina.
Indeed Robertson and his neighbors found themselves quite "outside the
boundaries of civilized government."

The Scotch-Irish had not forgotten Ulster, and they lost no time in
making a treaty with the Indians upon whose territory they really were.
They drew up leases, and some of the seventeen families even purchased
part of the land.

Soon the ax was ringing in the forest. A cluster of cabins sprang up.
Another settlement was established and before long thousands came to
join the seventeen families who had followed James Robertson. So long as
there had been only a handful of neighbors the problem of government did
not present itself. The level-headed thinkers of the group again put
their heads together and pondered well. Now that they had burned their
bridges behind them they must make firm the rock upon which they built.
Above all they must stand united, with hearts and hands together for the
well-being of all. To that end they formed an Association, the Watauga
Association they called it, and adopted a constitution (1772) by which
to live. It was "the first ever adopted by a community of American-born
freemen," says Theodore Roosevelt in _The Winning of the West_.

If Daniel Boone had been a man to glow with pride he might well have
done so over the outcome of that first hunting trip he made to the
Watauga country. But Daniel was a hunter, an adventurer, an explorer who
loved above all else space. He didn't like being crowded by a lot of
neighbors. So again in 1773, calling his little family around the
fireside one night, he told them he meant to pull up stakes and move on.
They had only been there four years which was a brief time considering
the laborious journey they'd had to get there, the hardships of life, of
clearing ground and taking root again. However, if Rebecca offered
protest it was overcome. Daniel had a way with him. Perhaps she even
helped her husband convince members of her family that it was the thing
to do. Her folks, the Bryans, told others. The word passed around the
family circle until forty of the Bryans had decided they'd join Daniel
and Rebecca. Boone sold his home. Why bother with it! He'd probably
never be back there to live, for this time Daniel and Rebecca, with
their children, the Bryans, and Captain William Russell, were going on a
long journey. They were headed for Kentucky. Daniel had told them some
fine and promising yarns about his lone expedition to that far-off

The way wasn't easy. Following watercourses, fording swollen streams,
picking their way over rocks and loose boulders, through mud and sand.
Besides there was the constant dread of the Indian. Their fears were
confirmed before they reached Cumberland Gap. While they were still in
Powell Valley a band of Indians attacked Boone's party. The women
huddled together in terror while the men seized their guns.

But for all his skill as a marksman, Daniel Boone could not stay the
hand of the Indian whose arrow pierced the heart of his oldest son.
There was another grave in the wilderness and the disheartened party
returned to the Watauga country. This time, however, Boone settled in
the Clinch Valley.

The Indians continued on a rampage. Consequently it was nearly two years
before Boone started again for Kentucky. This time he gained his goal,
though at first he did not take Rebecca and his family. He meant to make
a safe place for them to live.

These were times to try men's souls. Everywhere man yearned for freedom.
About this time a young Scotch-Irishman in Virginia astounded his
hearers by a speech he made at St. John's Church in Richmond. When the
zealous patriot cried, "Give me liberty, or give me death," the fervor
and eloquence of his voice echoed down the valleys. It re-echoed through
the mountains. That young orator, "Patrick Henry, and his Scotch-Irish
brethren from the western Counties carried and held Virginia for
Independence," it has been said.

There was unity in thought and purpose among the Scotch-Irish whether
they lived in highland or lowland and their purpose was to gain freedom
and independence. A bond of feeling that could not have existed among
the Dutch of New York, the Puritans of New England, the English of
Virginia, even if they had not been so widely separated geographically.
Moreover, the isolation of the Scotch-Irish in the wilderness, though it
cut them off from voice in the government or protection by it, made them
self-reliant people. They had had enough of royal government. Added to
this was their natural hatred of British aggression, distaste for the
unfairness of those in political power from whom they were so far
removed by miles and mountains. They thought for themselves and acted
accordingly. Their individualism marked them for leadership that was
readily followed by others who also had known persecution: the Palatine
Germans, the Dutch, and the Huguenots. They had another strong ally in
the English who had come from Virginia to settle in the mountains and
whose traditions of resolute action added to the mountaineer's spirit of
independence. The flame of agitation was fanned by the unfairness of
government officials in the lowlands. The mountain people had long since
looked to their own protection and their Scotch-Irish nature persisted
in resentment of unfairness from authority of any source. This spirit
prevailed among the incoming settlers in Carolina. There was
dissatisfaction between them and the planters, the men of means and
influence who with unfair taxation and injustice persecuted the less
prosperous newcomers. Discontent grew and brought on events that were
forerunners of the expansive militant movement that came in American

First was the Declaration of Abingdon, Virginia, in January, 1775.
Daniel Boone had led an expedition there sixteen years earlier and may
have planted the seed in the minds of those who stayed on, while he went
on to Kentucky. Title to much of the land which embraced Kentucky was
claimed by the Cherokees. England still claimed the right to any
territory in America and the war's beginnings left the whole thing in
doubt. England might even make void Virginia's titles if she were so
inclined. In the midst of these doubts and disputed claims several North
Carolina gentlemen, including Richard Henderson and Nathaniel Hart, in
the spring of 1775 formed themselves into the Transylvania Company for
the purpose of acquiring title to the territory of Kentucky from the
Cherokees. They meant to operate on a great scale, to establish an
independent empire here in the "expansive West." They looked about for a
man to help them. They didn't have to look long.

There was Daniel Boone. He had a background. He'd scouted all over the
country. He'd fought with Washington against the French when he was only
in his teens. He was a fearless fellow; he knew how to deal with the
Indian. So the Transylvania Company employed Daniel as their
representative to negotiate with the Cherokees. The council met at
Sycamore Shoals on the Watauga, a tributary of the Holston River. There
the Cherokees ceded to the company for "ten thousand pounds, all the
vast tract of land lying between the Ohio and Cumberland rivers, and
west and south of the Kentucky." This region was called Transylvania.

So, just six years after his first hunting trip to Kentucky, Boone began
to colonize it and that in flat defiance of the British government. He
thumbed his nose too at a menacing proclamation of North Carolina's
royal governor.

Now that the land was acquired by the Transylvania Company they would
have to charter a course leading to and through it for prospective
settlers. For theirs was a "land and improvement company." Again Daniel
Boone was employed. This time his task was to open a path through the

With ax and tomahawk, with fighting and tribulations, he blazed the
trail from Holston River to the mouth of Otter Creek on the Kentucky
River. "Boone's Trace," they called it, connecting with the Warrior's
Path and its extensions into eastern Tennessee and western North
Carolina through Cumberland Gap and even beyond. It became the
Wilderness Trail or Wilderness Road. It was the first through course
from the mother state of Virginia to the West.

In spite of the purchase of land from the Indian, in spite of all the
treaties of peace, the cunning warrior persisted in attack upon the
white men, in massacre of women and children, in capture of hunter and

Daniel Boone and his men had to safeguard their families and the future
of their company. They set about building a fort. As for Boone, he felt
himself "an instrument ordained to settle the wilderness." No hardship
was too great, no sorrow too deep to deter him in his mission of
"pioneering and subduing the wilderness for the habitation of civilized

After two years of hardship and toil a fort was built on the banks of
the Kentucky River. It consisted of cabins of roughhewn logs surrounded
by a stockade. Over this crude fort, in one cabin of which Boone and
Rebecca lived with their family, a flag was raised on May 23, 1775. It
marked a new and independent nation called Transylvania.

Only a week after the flag-raising in Kentucky the people of
Mecklenburg, which had been established only eleven years, made another
step toward independence. On May 31, 1775, the Mecklenburg Resolutions
were adopted in North Carolina.

In the meantime the Revolution had begun and mountain men were first to
join Washington against the British in the forces of Morgan's Riflemen
and Nelson's Riflemen. Their skill with firearms, their fearlessness,
made them invaluable to Washington. "It was their quality of cool
courage and personal independence," said Raine, "that won the battles of
Kings Mountain and Cowpens and drove Lord Cornwallis to his surrender at

Each movement toward independence in Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia, and
North Carolina had been under the leadership of mountain men and the
accomplishment of their several declarations paved the way for the more
widespread Continental Declaration of Independence at Philadelphia, July
4, 1776.

It echoed around the world, but Daniel Boone, that young rebel, didn't
even hear of it until the following August. Whereupon the fearless
hunter with the abandon of a happy lad danced a jig around the bonfire
inside the stockade. It could have been an Elizabethan jig, ironically
enough, for the Boones were English. Daniel tossed his coonskin cap into
the air again and again and let out a war whoop that brought the
terrified Rebecca hurrying to the cabin door, a whoop that pierced the
silence of the forest beyond.

By the time the Declaration was signed the mountain people constituted
one sixth of the settlement of the United States.

As for Daniel Boone, twenty-five years had passed since he, a boy of
sixteen, had left Pennsylvania with his father and brothers. He was
forty-one years old when he set up housekeeping at Boonesborough where
the fort stood on the banks of the Kentucky. Never in all his life had
he been quite so settled. Daniel had acquired title to lands from the
Transylvania Company and things looked promising. Rebecca too must have
been happy in their security. The children could safely play inside the
stockade even if they did squabble with the neighbors' children. Rebecca
must have sung a ballad betimes as she cooked venison or wild turkey at
the hearth, or swept the floor with her rived oak broom. For Daniel
could whittle a broom for her while he sat meditating aloud on his past
adventures. Daniel was satisfied. Rebecca could see that. Now with the
colony established in the wilderness Daniel Boone had realized the dream
of his life.

In the thirteen years Boone lived in Kentucky he continued to hunt and
trap and explore. He took others along with him on his various
expeditions. In January, 1778, with a party of thirty men he went to
make salt at Blue Lick. He knew the places to go for he had found them
previously by following the path of buffalo, deer, and bear that had
gone there to lick salt. Boone and his men threw up rough shelters for
themselves. Soon the kettles were boiling, the salt was made. They were
in the midst of preparations to pack up their belongings and load the
salt into bags when Daniel's keen ears caught the sound of moccasined
feet in the underbrush nearby. Suddenly as if they had popped up out of
the ground a band of Indians pounced upon the white men. All but three
of Boone's party were captured. They escaped and after hiding the
kettles took the salt back to the stockade. Daniel and two of his
companions were borne off to Detroit.

Boone was a wary fellow, so he pretended to be quite contented with his
lot and the Indians were so pleased with him they adopted him as a son
into their tribe. He would have looked a fright to Rebecca for the
Indians cropped his hair close to the scalp save a tuft on the top of
his head which was bedecked with trinkets--shells, teeth of wild
animals, feathers. The women dressed him up in this fashion, first
taking him to the river and giving him a thorough scrubbing "to take out
his white blood." Then they painted his face with colors as bright as
those of any chieftain in the tribe. Daniel was a good actor. He
pretended to be highly pleased, but he was only awaiting the chance to
escape. One day there was quite a stir in the camp. Daniel observed many
new faces among the warriors. They talked and gesticulated excitedly,
and Boone soon gathered the purpose of the powwow. "They're going on the
warpath," Daniel said to himself, "and to my notion they're headed
toward our stockade." While they continued to harangue among themselves
Daniel stealthily made his escape. He covered the intervening one
hundred and sixty miles in five days.

The Indians didn't carry out their plan to attack the fort until some
weeks later and when they did march into view they were led by Captain
Duquesne of the English Army.

The siege lasted for nine days but the veteran riflemen of the fort,
under Boone's skillful direction, gained the day with only a loss of
three or four men, while many of the four hundred Indians fell.

There were many other battles with the Indians who crossed the Ohio into
Kentucky, and though Boone was always in the thick of the fray he came
out uninjured.

And then misfortune came in another way.

Things had looked fair enough in the beginning when the Transylvania
Company sold boundaries of land to settlers, with Colonel Henderson, a
bright lawyer who had once been appointed Associate Chief Justice, to
look after the legal side of the transactions. The company asked only
thirteen and one third cents per acre for the land for one year and an
added half cent per acre quitrent to begin in 1780. At such a low rate
it was possible for a man to purchase a boundary of six hundred acres.
When Daniel talked it over with Rebecca they concluded he would not be
overreaching himself to invest in such an acreage.

The Transylvania Company did a land-office business. By December of the
first year after Colonel Henderson opened up his office for business in
Boonesborough 560,000 acres were sold. That was all right for the
company, but what of the purchaser? What with the squabbles and disputes
concerning title between Indian and settler, English and French, Boone
like others soon found himself with not a leg to stand on. He had bought
"wildcat" land. Land-sharks cleaned him out.

At the age of fifty-four, in 1788, Daniel had to start all over again.
With Rebecca at his side and a larger family he moved on.

Boone had scouted through the West Virginia country long before, when he
had passed a solitary winter in a hut on the Big Sandy. So now once more
he turned in that direction, pressing on until he reached the mouth of
the Great Kanawha River. He lived from place to place in the Kanawha
country, following his old pursuits of hunting and trapping, and as
usual absented himself from his fireside for long days at a stretch. But
Rebecca was used to his ways. She looked after the family, cooked and
mended. When Daniel returned home Rebecca always cleaned him up again
before he started on another hunting trip.

Eleven years passed without a word being said about land titles. Then
one day Daniel found himself facing the same situation that had robbed
him of his acres in Kentucky. A man of sixty-five, and with a family of
seven, three boys and four girls--two of their boys had been killed in
battle with the Indians--Daniel, though still a fearless hunter, didn't
want to be bothered with squabbles over land titles. He told Rebecca
there was an easier way around. There were places outside of the
jurisdiction of the United States altogether. "We don't have to be
beholden to anyone," he said boastfully.

Pioneer women followed their men. So once more Rebecca made ready for
the journey. She mended garments; she gathered up their few cooking
utensils and the furry hides that were their blankets. She tied some of
her choice things in her apron. That she'd carry right on her arm. The
boys helped their father make ready the great cumbersome cart that was
to carry their possessions. When all was in readiness Daniel pulled on
his coonskin cap and whistling up his dogs he started off resolutely
ahead of his family.

On and on they went until they reached Spanish territory beyond the
Mississippi in Upper Louisiana. There at Charette (fifty miles west of
St. Louis) Daniel Boone remained for a score of years, still hunting and

Even after Rebecca died he stayed on in the log cabin that had been
their home for so long. An old man of seventy-eight he was, with many a
sorrow to look back upon. For him the trail had been a "bloody one,"
Daniel often reflected. He had seen two of his boys fall under the
tomahawk, and his brothers too. He had seen Rebecca's grief and terror
at bloodshed; her anxiety in the lonely life of the wilderness. He had
seen her despair when the very ground in which they had taken root was
torn from under their feet. He had known the suffering of winter winds,
the desolation of the forest. He had suffered innumerable hardships. All
these things he lived again as he sat alone in the house where Rebecca
had died.

But the spirit of the hunter still burned in the old man's bosom at the
age of eighty-five. Even then he was all for shouldering his gun once
more and setting out with an Indian lad to explore the Rockies. His son
persuaded him to give up the thought. "You're too old, Pa. If you fall
over a cliff your bones would be broke to smithereens. Come and live
with me. My house is safe. It's all built of stone. The Indians can't
burn down a stone house." After much bickering Daniel finally heeded his
son and went to live with him. He died there in 1822.

The fort which he so proudly built and valiantly defended continues to
bear his name, being one of at least thirty localities in the United
States which take their name from the first pioneer of the great valley
of the Mississippi. His body lies in a little cemetery in Kentucky's
capital. A humble grave, though as you stand beside it you feel the
spirit of the great hunter hovering near. A courageous explorer in
leather breeches and coonskin cap blazed the trail through an unbroken
wilderness to help build America.

At length through Cumberland Gap following Boone's Wilderness Trail came
the ancestors of David Crockett, Samuel Houston, John C. Calhoun,
"Stonewall" Jackson, and Abraham Lincoln. The Boones and Lincolns had
been neighbors back in Pennsylvania in one of the most German
settlements. Yet both families themselves were English.

                            THE MOUNTAINEER

Difficulties of communication are enough to explain the isolation of
mountaineers. For long years, even until yesterday, the only roads were
the beds of tortuous and rockstrewn watercourses that were dry when you
started at sunup and were suddenly transformed by a downpour to swollen,
turbulent streams, perilous even to ford.

But for all that, in 1803 there were a million settlers in the southern
highlands. Hardships of life there might have shaken a man's faith but
not his love of the country. In Kentucky alone in 1834 there were 500
pensioners of the Revolution. And when the guns roared at the opening of
the Civil War, the southern highlanders sent 180,000 riflemen to the
Union Army.

An isolated people drops easily into illiteracy. Cut off as the mountain
men were from the outside world, they knew little of what was going on
beyond their mountain walls. Even if newspapers had found their way to
the mountaineer's cabin they would have been of little use to men who
could not read. On the other hand, had the mountain men known of the
great westward movement toward the plains few of them could have joined
the caravans. The mountaineer had no money because he had no way to
produce money. For that reason he could not even reach the nearest
lowlands. Even if he had moved down into the lowlands he could not hope
to own land but would only have fallen once more into the unbearable
state of his forbears in Ulster--that of tenant, or menial, with
proprietors and bosses to harass his life. This peril alone was enough,
aside from the lack of money, to make the highlander shrink from the
society of the lowlands. The few who straggled down were glad enough to
return to the cloister of the mountains. Besides the mountaineer didn't
like the climate or the water down there. The sparkling, cool mountain
brook, the constant breeze and bracing air were much more to his liking.
Indeed the climate has had its effect upon the mountaineer, not only
upon his physical being--he is tall and stalwart; few mountain men are
dwarfed--but the bracing air enables him to toil for long days in the
open. He can walk--or hoe corn on an almost perpendicular corn
patch--from daylight till dark. He is patient and is never in a hurry.
Time means nothing to him. Down in the Unakas a mountaineer once had a
cataract removed from the right eye. The surgeon told him to return in a
couple months when it would be safe to operate upon the other eye.
Twenty years elapsed before the fellow returned to the doctor's office;
when he was chided for the delay he answered unconcernedly, "I 'lowed
'twas no use to be in a hurry about it."

Yet for all their seeming indifference the people of the Blue Ridge, who
locked their offspring generation after generation in mountain
fastnesses that have barred the world, have kept alive and fresh in
memory the unwritten song, the speech, the tradition of their
Anglo-Saxon and Anglo-Celtic ancestors.

Down through the centuries the blood and traditions of the pioneers have
carried, creating a stalwart, a fearless people. Hidden away in the high
crannies of the Blue Ridge they have come to be known as Mountaineers,
Southern Highlanders, Appalachian Mountaineers, and Southern
Mountaineers. But if you should ask a name of any of the old folk of the
Blue Ridge country they doubtless will tell you, "We are mountain
people." Never hill-billies! A hill-billy, the true mountain man or
woman would have you know, is one born of the mountains who has got
above his raising, ashamed to own his origin, one who holds his own
mountain people up for scorn and ridicule. To mountain folk the word
hill-billy is a slur of the worst sort. A slur that has caused murder.

They recognize no caste in the Blue Ridge Country. They are hospitable
beyond measure, I have come to know in my long years of roaming through
the mountains, first as court stenographer in isolated courts, then as
ballad collector. I have never entered a mountain home throughout the
Blue Ridge, no matter how humble the fare, where man, woman, or child
offered apology for anything, their surroundings or the food and
hospitality given to the stranger under their roof. "You're welcome to
what we've got," is the invariable greeting--though the bed be a crude
shuck tick shared with the children of the family, the fare cornbread
and sorghum.

As a child I used to go to the cabin home of one of my father's kinsmen,
a man who could neither read nor write, though he knew his Bible from
cover to cover and could cite accurately chapter and verse of any text
from which he chose to preach. There was but one room in his house of
logs with its lean-to kitchen of rough planks, but never did I hear
father's kinsman or his wife offer any word of excuse for anything. When
it was time for victuals his wife, with all the graciousness of
nobility, would stand behind her guests, while her man, seated at the
head of the table, head bowed reverently, offered thanks. Then, lifting
his head, he would fling wide his open palms in hospitality, "Thar hit
is afore you. Take holt and eat all you're a-mind to!" And turning to
his wife, "Marthie! watch their plates!" My great-aunt kept a vigilant
eye on us as she walked around the table inviting us to partake, "Hure,
have more of the snaps. Holp yourself to the ham meat. Take another
piece of cornbread. 'Pon my word, you're pickin' like a wren. Eat
hearty!" she urged, while above our heads she swished the fly-brush, a
branch from the lilac bush in summer, otherwise a fringed paper attached
to a stick.

They learned through necessity to put to use the things at hand, made
their own crude implements to clear and break the stubborn soil; they
learned to do without.

Their poteen (whiskey) craft, handed down by their Scotch-Irish
ancestors, survives today in what outlanders term moonshining.
Resentment against taxation of homemade whiskey survives too. The
mountaineer reasons--I've heard them frequently in court--that the land
is his, that he "heired it from his Pa, same as him from hisn," that he
plants him some bread without no tax. Why can't he make whiskey from his
corn without paying tax?

As for killing in the Blue Ridge Country. In my profession of court
stenographer I have reported many trials for killing and almost
invariably my sympathy has been with the slayer. Usually he admits that
he had it to do either for a real or fancied wrong, or for a slur to his
womenfolks. I've never known of gangsters, fingermen, or paid killers in
the Blue Ridge Country.

With an inherent love of music, handed down from the wandering minstrels
of Shakespeare's time, and with a wealth of ballads stored up in their
heads and hearts, they found in these a joyful expression. Even the
children, like their elders, can turn a hand to fashion a make-believe
whistle of beech or maple, although they may never know that in so doing
they are making an imitation of the Recorder upon which Queen Elizabeth
herself was a skilled performer. Little Chad at the head of Raccoon
Hollow will cut two corn stalks about the length of his small arms and
earnestly proceed to make music by sawing one across the other, singing

                Corn stalk fiddle and shoe-string bow,
                Best old fiddle in the country, oh!

not knowing that Haydn, the child, likewise sawed one stick upon another
in imitation of playing the fiddle. And there's Little Babe of Lonesome
Creek who delights in a gourd banjo. His grandsir, finding a straight,
long-necked gourd among those clustered on the vine over kitchen-house
door, fashioned it into a banjo for the least one. Cut it flat on one
side, did the old man, scooped out the seed, then covered the opening
with a bit of brown paper made fast with flour paste, strung it with cat
gut. And there, bless you, as fine a banjo as ever a body would want to

They are neighborly in the Blue Ridge Country. They ask no favor of any
man. Yet the road is never too rough, the way too far, for one neighbor
to go to the aid of another in time of sickness or death. I knew a
little boy who was dangerously sick with a strange ailment that
primitive home remedies could not heal. Neighbor boys made a slide, a
quilt tied to two strong saplings, and carried their little friend some
ten miles over a rough mountain footpath to the nearest wagon road.
There, placing him in a jolt wagon, the bed of which had been filled
with hay to ease his suffering in jolting over the rough creek-bed road,
they continued the journey on for thirty miles to the wayside railroad
station where the cars bore the afflicted child on to town and the

A feud is the name given to their family quarrels by the level-landers.
Mountain people never use the word. They say war or troubles. Their
clannishness was inherited from their Scotch ancestors, and the wild,
rugged mountains lent themselves perfectly to warfare among the clans.
They had lived apart so long, protected from invasion and interference
by their high mountain walls, that they learned to settle their own
differences in their own way. They knew no law but the gun. If John
warned his neighbor Mark that Mark's dog was killing his sheep and the
neighbor did nothing about it, John settled the matter forthwith by
shooting the dog. Families took sides. The flame was fanned. The feud

However, in time of disaster, with grim faces and willing hands, they
come to the aid of an unfortunate neighbor. Once when a terrible flood
caused Troublesome to overflow its banks, carrying everything in its
raging course, I saw a team of mules, the only means of support of a
widowed mother of a dozen children, swept away. She hired the team to
neighbors and thus earned a meager living. I remember the despair of
that white, drawn face as the widow looked on helplessly at the
destruction. Not a word did she speak. But before darkness the next day
neighbor men far and wide, and none of them were prosperous, chipped in
from their small hoards and got another team for the woman.

                      2. LAND OF FEUDS AND STILLS

                         HATFIELDS AND MCCOYS

When Dr. Walker, the Englishman, the first white man in Cumberland Gap,
followed the course of Russell Fork out of Virginia into Kentucky back
in 1750, he came upon a wooded point of land shaped like a triangle
which was skirted by two forks of tepid water. The one to the left, as
he faced westward, this English explorer called Levisa after the wife of
the Duke of Cumberland.

Generations later a lovely mountain girl wore the name he had given the
stream and she became the wife of the leader of a blood feud in the
country where he set up his hut. It was a blood feud and a war of
revenge that lasted more than forty years, the gruesome details of which
have echoed around the world, cost scores of lives, and struck terror to
the hearts of women and innocent children for several decades.

Devil Anse Hatfield, the leader of his clan, himself told me much of the
story when I lived on Main Island Creek in Logan County, West Virginia,
and on Tug Fork of the Big Sandy River. His wife Levicy--she who had
been Levicy Chafin--did not spell her name as the name of the stream was
spelled though she pronounced it the same way. It was a story that began
with the killing of Harmon McCoy in 1863 by Devil Anse, who was a
fearless fighter, a captain in a body of the Rebel forces known as the
Logan Wildcats. Later, when Jonse Hatfield, the leader's oldest boy,
grew to young manhood, he set eyes upon Rosanna McCoy, old Randall's
daughter, and loved her at sight. But Devil Anse, because of the hatred
he bore Rosanna's father, wouldn't permit his son to marry a McCoy.
Rosanna loved Jonse madly. And he, swept away with wild, youthful
passion, determined to have her. He did, though not in lawful wedlock.

Quarrels and bickerings between the sides sprang up at the slightest
provocation. Even a dispute over the ownership of a hog resulted in
another killing. Old Randall grew more bitter as time went on, what with
Rosanna the mother of an illegitimate child and Jonse, even though he
lived with her under his father's own roof, being faithless to the girl.
And when, after the McCoys stabbed Ellison Hatfield to death, Devil Anse
avenged his brother's death by inciting his clan to slay Randall's three
boys, Little Randall, Tolbert and Phemer, the leader of the McCoys vowed
he'd not rest until he wiped out the last one of the other clan.

There were killings from ambush, open killings, threats, house-burnings.
Once the McCoys had outtricked Devil Anse and had stolen his favorite
son Jonse away while he was courting Rosanna. They meant to riddle him
with bullets. But the Hatfields got word of it. Rosanna had betrayed her
own family, so the McCoys felt, for the love of Jonse. The Hatfields
came galloping along the road by moonlight, surrounded the McCoys,
demanded the release of the prisoner, young Jonse, and even made a McCoy
dust young Hatfield's boots.

When the law tried to interfere, Devil Anse built a drawbridge to span
the creek beside which his house stood, stationed a bevy of armed
Hatfields around his place, and ruled his clan like a czar, directing
their every deed.

The bloody feud did not end until 1920, after Sid Hatfield on Tug Fork,
which with Levisa forms Big Sandy, had shot to death some nine men led
by Baldwin-Felts detectives. They had killed Mayor Testerman of the
village of Matewan. And when they came to arrest Sid on what he termed a
trumped-up charge he reached for his gun. Sid, then chief of police of
Matewan, West Virginia, had been accused of opposing labor unions among
the coal miners and the coming of the detectives was the result. Though
Hatfields and McCoys were both miners and coal operators, the killing of
the detectives by Sid had no direct bearing upon the early differences
between the clans. But the wholesale killing on the streets of Matewan
in 1920 marked the end of the Hatfield-McCoy feud.

Devil Anse lived to see peace between his family and the McCoys.

Through thick and thin Levicy Chafin Hatfield stood by her man, though
she pleaded with him to give up the strife.

They waged their blood battles on Levisa Fork and Tug, on Blackberry and
Grapevine, creeks that were tributaries to the waters that swelled the
Big Sandy as they flowed down through the mountains of West Virginia and
Kentucky, emptying at last into the Ohio.

Levicy bore her mate thirteen children and died a few years after 1921
when the old clansman had passed to the beyond. There was not even a
bullet mark on the old clansman. He died a natural death, mountain
kinsmen will tell you proudly. He was buried with much pomp, as pomp
goes in the mountains, on Main Island Creek of West Virginia, in the
family burying ground.

I knew Devil Anse and "Aunt" Levicy quite well. For, long centuries
after my illustrious kinsman had returned to Merrie England to report
upon his expedition for the Loyal Land Company in the Blue Ridge, I
followed the same course he had blazed out of Virginia into the
mountains of Kentucky and West Virginia. I lived for a number of years
on Levisa Fork and Tug Fork and on Main Island Creek in West Virginia,
where my nearest neighbors and best friends were Hatfields and,
strangely enough, McCoys.

One day Devil Anse stopped at my house out of a downpour of rain and as
he sat looking out of the open door he fell to talking of another rainy
day many years before. "This puts me in the mind of the time I had to go
away on business down to the mouth of Big Sandy," he said in his slow,
even tones. All the time his eagle eyes were fixed on me. "I had to go
down to the mouth of Big Sandy," he repeated, "on some business of my
own. A man has a right to protect his family," he interrupted himself
and arched a brow. "Anyway there come an awful rainstorm and creeks
busted over their banks till I couldn't ford 'em--not even on Queen, as
high-spirited a nag as any man ever straddled. But she balked that day
seeing the creeks full of trees pulled up by the roots and even
carcasses of calves and fowls. Queen just nat'erly rared back on her
haunches and wouldn't budge. Couldn't coax nor flog her to wade into the
water. A feller come ridin' up on a shiny black mare. Black and shiny as
I ever saw and its neck straight as a fiddle bow. He said the waters
looked too treacherous and turned and rode off over the mountain, his
black hair drippin' wet on his shoulders. Anyway there I was held back
another day and night till that master tide swept on down to the Big
Waters [the Ohio]. When I got home my little girls Rosie and Nancy come
runnin' down the road to meet me. 'Pappy, look! what a strange man give
us!' Rosie held out her hand and there was a sil'er dollar in it and
Nancy brought her hand from behind her and openin' her fist she had a
sil'er dollar too and little Lizbeth she come runnin' to show me what
she had. Another sil'er dollar, bless you. 'This strange man were most
powerful free-hearted,' sez I, gettin' off of Queen. I throwed the
bridle over the fence rail and went on up to the house, packin' my
saddle pockets over my arm and my gun and cartridge belt over my
shoulder. My little girls come troopin' behind. Their Ma stood waitin'
in the door twistin' the end of her apron like she ever did when she was
warned. 'Captain Anderson!' sez she, that were her pet name for me,
'I've been nigh in a franzy. I 'lowed sure you and Queen had been washed
plum down in the flood. Here, let me have them soppin' clothes and them
muddy boots.' Levicy was the workinest woman you ever saw. Washed and
scoured till my garmints looked like new. And after I'd got on clean dry
clothes such a feast she set before me. 'Pon my word, it made me feel
right sheepish. 'A body would think, Levicy,' sez I, 'that I were the
Prodigal Son come home.' She spoke right up. 'See here, Anderson
Hatfield, I won't have you handlin' no such talk about the sire of my
little girls,' sez she, spoonin' the sweet potatoes on my plate, and
smilin' so tender and good on me. Then my little girls gathered round to
see what I'd fetched them. There was store candy and a pretty hair
ribbon for each one that I taken out of the saddle pockets. And a gold
breast pin for Levicy. Never saw a woman so pleased in my life. 'I don't
aim to hold it back just to wear to meetin',' sez she. And she didn't.
From then on she wore that gold breast pin every day of her life. Said
she meant to be buried with it. Well, 'ginst my little girls had et
their candy and plaited each other's hair and tied on their new ribbons
they hovered around me again to show their sil'er the strange man had
give them. 'Captain Anderson,' sez Levicy, 'he was handsome built and
set his saddle proud and fearless. But not half so proud and fearless as
you. Nor were he half so handsome.' I could feel her hand on my shoulder
a-quiverin' a little grain like Levicy's hand ever did when she was plum
happy. Then she went on to tell as she washed the dishes and Nancy and
Rosie dried them and Lizbeth packed them off to the cupboard, about the
strange man. 'He laid powerful admiration on our little girls.' Levicy
was wipin' off the oilcloth on the table with her soapy dish rag. 'He
had them line up in a row to see which was tallest, whilst I set him a
snack. "Shut your eyes," sez he, "and open your mouth." They did, and
bless you, Captain Anderson, what did he do but put a sil'er dollar in
their mouth--each one.' By this time Nancy and Rosie and Lizbeth had
finished the dishes and they come hoverin' round my knee again whilst I
cleaned and polished my gun. Each one holdin' proud their sil'er dollar,
turnin' it this way and that, rubbin' it on their dress sleeve to make
the eagle shine. Just then, Jonse, my oldest boy, come gallopin' up the
road on Prince, his little sorrel. He never stopped till he got right to
the kitchen-house door. The chickens made a scattermint before him.
'Pa!' he shouted out, throwin' Prince's bridle out of his hand and
jumpin' down to the ground. 'They've caught him! Robbed the bank at
Charleston!' Levicy was drying the tin dishpan. She starred at Jonse and
so did I. 'Caught who?' sez I. 'Jesse James' brother, Frank! It was him
that was here. Him that Ma fed t'other day. Him that give Nancy and
Rosie and Lizbeth a sil'er dollar!' Levicy dropped the dishpan and
retched a hand to the table. 'Mistress Levicy Chafin Hatfield!' sez I,
'never again can I leave this house in peace. A man's family's not safe
with such scalawags prowlin' the country!'"

Then Devil Anse went on with the rest of the story.

Devil Anse, the leader of the Hatfield clan whose very name struck
terror to the hearts of people, and Jesse James' brother Frank,
highwayman and bank robber, had met on a mountain road, each unaware of
the other's identity, each intent on his own business. Captain Anderson
had gone down to the mouth of Big Sandy, the county seat, Catlettsburg,
Kentucky, to buy ammunition with which to annihilate the McCoys. That
story too the outside world heard afterward, for the clans met on
Blackberry Creek and engaged in battle for several hours with dead and
dying from both sides on the field--or rather in the bushes.

Whatever else has been attributed to Devil Anse he liked to prank as
well as anyone. He took particular glee in telling the following story
to me, his eagle eyes twinkling:

"One day a tin peddler come with his pack of shiny cook vessels in a
shiny black oilcloth poke on his back. The fellow wore red-topped boots
and a red flannel shirt, for all it was summer. His breeches had more
patches than a scarecrow and his big felt hat had seen its best days
too. He kept at Levicy to buy his wares but she was one that didn't
favor shiny tinware. 'It rustes out,' she told the peddler. 'Nohow I've
got plenty of iron cook vessels.' All the time the old peddler was
trying to wheedle and coax her into buying something, a quart cup, a
milk bucket, a dishpan, a washpan. I was inside in the sitting room
resting myself on the sofa. I could hear the peddler outside on the
stoop, bickering and haranguing at Levicy to buy. Finally I got my fill
of it and I tiptoed out through the kitchen-house, my gun over my
shoulder. I went to the barn lot and turned loose Buck, a young bull we
had that I'd been aimin' to swop Jim Vance. I give Buck one good wollop
across the rump with the pam of my hand. He kicked up his heels and
rushed forward, me close behind with my gun. The peddler took one look
at Buck, so it peered to me, and Buck took one look at the peddler,
lowered his head and charged. The peddler let out a war whoop and flew
down the hillside like a thousand hornets had lit on him. The pack fell
from his back and there was a scattermint of tinware from top to bottom
of that hill. Buck shook his head and snorted. His eyes bugged outten
the sockets. I couldn't tell if he was ragin' mad at the shiny tin cook
vessels that was tanglin' his hoofs, or if it was the red shirt and
red-topped boots of the peddler that riled Buck. Nohow Buck ducked his
head again and bellowed, caught a shiny quart cup on each horn and a
couple washpans on his forefeet and kept right on down the hill. By this
time the tin peddler had scooted up a tall tree quick as a squirrel and
there he set on a limb. Buck was ragin' and chargin' in circles around
that tree. That bull was riled plum to a franzy and that tin peddler was
yaller as a punkin. Skeert out of his wits. 'Come on down, you pore
critter!' sez I. But he just opened his mouth and couldn't say a word,
just a dry croak like a frog bein' swallored in sudden quicksand. 'Come
on down,' I coaxed, 'I'll quile Buck down till he's peaceable as a

"But the peddler just starred at me and shivered on the limb like a
sparrow bird freezin' of a winter time in the snow. 'I'll tend to Buck!'
I promised him. 'Come on down!' And to put his mind at ease I up with my
rifle-gun, shot the quart tin cups offen Buck's horns and the washpans
offen his front hoofs. 'Now get back to the barn where you belong and
behave yourself!' I sez to Buck and he scampered back up the hill as
frolicsome as a lamb, pickin' his way careful like as a Jenny Wren
through that scattermint of tinware.

"The peddler was still shiverin' on the tree limb overhead and his eyes
buggin' out worser'n Buck's had when he ketched first sight of the
feller's red shirt and the shiny tinware. 'Buck's gone,' I sez to him
coaxin' like. 'You don't need to be skeert of him no more!' 'T-t-tain't
B-b-buck!' the feller's teeth chattered. 'It's you, D-d-evil A-a-nse!'
With that he drapped off the limb down to the ground at my feet.
Swoonded dead away!"

Devil Anse Hatfield chuckled heartily. "'T-t-ain't Buck! B-b-uck,' sez
he when he ketched his wind and revived up. 'It's you--D-d-evil Anse!'"

The rest of the story Captain Anderson himself would never tell but Aunt
Levicy told me how he packed the tin peddler back up the hill to the
house on his shoulder and had her cook him a big dinner of fried chicken
and cornbread; how he gave the peddler a couple greenbacks that made him
plum paralyzed with pleasure and surprise; and how he had Jonse take the
peddler back to the county seat, the peddler riding behind Jonse on
Queen, where he bought a new supply of tinware and went on his way.

Except for such interludes of pranking, doubtless Aunt Levicy and old
Randall's wife, Sarah McCoy, could never have survived the ordeal of the
Hatfield-McCoy feud.

The women of both households lived days of torture, ever watchful of the
approaching enemy. They spent sleepless nights of anguish, knowing too
well the sound of gunshot, the cry of terror that meant another outbreak
of the clans. And when the cross grew too heavy even for their stoic
shoulders to bear they ventured unbeknownst to their menfolks to the
Good Shepherd of the Hills to beg his intercession, his prayers for


Autumn had painted the wooded hillside bright scarlet, golden brown,
vivid orange, and yellow that shone in the late September sunlight like
a giant canvas beyond the rambling farmhouse at the head of Garrett's
Fork of Big Creek where dwelt the Good Shepherd of the Hills, William
Dyke Garrett and his gentle wife. Here in Logan County in the heart of
the rugged West Virginia country, Uncle Dyke and Aunt Sallie lived in
the selfsame place for all of seventy years. Sallie Smith, she was, of
Crawley's Creek, a few miles away, before she wed the young rebel of the
Logan Wildcats. That was away back in 1867, February 19th, to be exact.
He was twenty, she in her teens. He had been born and grew to young
manhood in a cabin only a stone's throw from where he and Miss Sallie,
as he always called her, went to housekeeping. As for their neighbors,
there wasn't a person in the whole countryside that didn't love Sallie
Garrett, nor one that didn't revere the kindly Apostle of the Book. So
long had Dyke Garrett traveled up and down the valley comforting the
sick, praying with the dying, funeralizing the dead.

I had heard him preach in various places through the West Virginia

"Hello, Uncle Dyke!" I called from the roadside one autumn day in 1936.

"Howdy! and welcome!" he replied cheerily, rising at once from his
straight chair and taking his place in the door. His wife stepped nimbly
to his side, for all her ninety-odd years, and echoed the husband's

It is the way of the mountains.

I lifted the wood latch on the gate and went up the white-pebbled path.
Flower-bordered it was, with brilliant scarlet sage, purple bachelor
buttons, golden glow. There was pretty-by-night, too, though their
snow-white blossoms were closed tight in the bud for it was not yet
sundown; only in the twilight and by night did the buds bloom out.
"That's why they wear the name Pretty-by-Night," mountain folk will tell
you. There were clusters of varicolored seven sisters lifting up their
bright petals. Moss, some call it in the mountains. There were bright
cockscomb and in a swamp corner of the foreyard a great bunch of
cat-o'-nine tails straight as corn stalks.

Tall, erect stood the Good Shepherd of the Hills, fully six feet three
in his boots, his white patriarchal beard pillowed on his breast. The
blue-veined hands rested upon the back of his chair as he gazed at me
from friendly eyes. Aunt Sallie, a slight bird-like little creature,
reached scarcely to his shoulder. Her black sateen dress with fitted
basque and full skirt was set off with a white apron edged with
crocheted lace. The small knot of silver hair atop her head was held in
place with an old-fashioned tucking comb. About her stooped shoulders
was a knitted cape of black yarn.

"Take a chair," invited Uncle Dyke when I reached the porch, waving me
to a low stool. "Miss Sallie al'lus favors the rocker yonder on account
the high back eases her shoulders. She's not quite as peert as she was
back in 1867."

"It took a bit of strength to tame Dyke and I had it to do." She
addressed me rather than her husband. "He was give up to be the wildest
young man in the country when he came back from the Home War."

The Civil War having been ended for some two years and the young private
of the Logan Wildcats having been tamed, he became converted to
religion. Thereupon he began to preach the Gospel.

But never in all the years of his ministry from 1867 to 1938, when
failing health took him from the pulpit, did Uncle Dyke Garrett receive
a penny for preaching. He never had a salary. William Dyke Garrett got
his living from the rugged little hillside farm that he tended with his
own hands.

"Before I was converted to religion," he said, straightening in his
chair, "I played the fiddle and many a time went to square dances. But
once I got the Spirit in here,"--placing a wrinkled hand upon his
breast--"I gave up frolic tunes and played only religious music. There
are other ways for folks to get together and enjoy themselves without
dancing. Now there's the Big Meeting! Every year on the first Sunday of
September folks come from far and near here to Big Creek and bring their
basket dinner."

"Dyke started it many a year ago," Aunt Sallie interposed with prideful
glance at her mate.

Again he took up the story. "After we've spread our basket dinner out on
the grass all under the trees we have hymn-singing and--"

"Dyke reads from the Scripture and preaches a spell." Aunt Sallie meant
that nothing should be left out. Nor did the old man chide her.

"Many a one has been converted at the Big Meeting"--his eyes
glowed--"and nothing will stop it but the end of time. They'll have the
Big Meeting every year long after I'm gone. I'm certain of that."

Presently his thoughts looped back to his wedding to Sallie Smith. "Our
infare-wedding lasted three days. The first day at Sallie's, the second
day at Pa's house, and the third right here in our own home. That was
the way in those times. And I got so gleeful I fiddled and danced at the
same time! That'll be seventy-one year come February of the year
nineteen thirty-seven." Slowly he rolled his thumbs one around the
other, then he stroked his long beard, eyes turned inward upon his
thoughts. "Well, sir, if I should get married one hundred times I'd
marry Miss Sallie Smith every time. We've traveled a long way together
and we've had but few harsh words."

His mate lifted faded eyes to his. "Dyke, it was generally my fault,"
she said contritely, "but I was bound to scold when you'd get careless
about your own self. I vow," the little old lady turned to me, "he took
no thought of his health nor his life nor limb. There was nothing he
feared--man nor beast nor weather. In the early days there were no roads
in this country and he rode horseback from one church to another through
the wilderness. In the dead of night I've known him to get up out of bed
and go with a troubled neighbor who had come for him to pray with the

Uncle Dyke chuckled softly. "Sometimes they were not as near death as I
thought. Once I remember John Lawton came from way over in Hart County.
His wife was at the point of death, he said. She had lived a mighty
sorry life had Dessie Lawton."

"Parted John and his wife!" piped Aunt Sallie, "and that poor girl went
to her grave worshiping the ground John Lawton walked on; hoping he'd
come back to her. Dyke claims there's ever hope for them that repent, so
when John brought word that Dessie wanted to make her peace with the
Lord before she died, Dyke said nothin' could stay him. So off he rode
behind John to pray over that trollop!" Aunt Sallie's eyes blazed. "They
forded the creek no tellin' how many times. They got chilled to the
bone. When they got there Dyke stumbled into the house as fast as his
cold, stiff legs could pack him, fell on his knees 'longside Dessie's
bed and begun to pray with all his might. Then he tried to sing a hymn,
but still never a word nor a moan out of Dessie, covered over from head
to foot in the bed. Directly John reached over to lay a hand on her
shoulder. 'Dessie, honey,' he coaxed, 'Brother Dyke Garrett's come to
pray with you!' He shook the heap of covers. And bless you, what they
thought was Dessie turned out to be a feather bolster. John snatched
back the covers. The bed was empty except for that long feather bolster
that strumpet had covered over lengthwise of the bed. Come to find out
Dessie had sent John snipe huntin', so to speak, and she skipped out
with a timber cruiser. Dyke was laid up for all of a week; took a deep
cold on his chest from riding home in his wet clothes."

The old preacher smiled at the memory. "Could have been worse, like John
Lawton said that night. 'Dessie's got principle!' said he. 'She could
a-took my poke of seed corn, but there it is a-hangin' from the rafters.
And she could a-took my savin's.' With that John Lawton pried a stone
out of the hearth with the toe of his boot. Underneath it lay a little
heap of silver coins. John blinked at it a moment. 'There it is.
Dessie's shorely got principle. No two ways about it.' He shifted the
stone back to place, tilted back in his chair, and patting his foot
began to whistle a rakish tune. He was still whistling as I rode off
into the bitter night."

There was another time Dyke recalled when old Granny Partlow sent word
that she couldn't hold out against the Lord no longer. Granny was
nearing eighty and for thirty of her years she had sat a helpless
cripple in a chair. At the birth of her seventeenth child, paralysis had
overtaken Deborah, wife of Obadiah Partlow, rendering her useless to her
spouse and their numerous offspring. She had protested bitterly, saying
right out that it wasn't fair and that so long as the affliction was
upon her she meant to ask no favor of the Lord. Deborah Partlow was
through with prayer and Scripture and Meeting, though in health never
had been there a more pious creature than Obadiah Partlow's wife.
Neighbor folk saw her wither and pine through the years. A grim figure,
she sat day in and day out in her chair wherever it was placed. Lifeless
from the waist down, using her hands a little to peel potatoes or string
beans, though so slow and laborious were the movements of the stiff
fingers her children and Obadiah said they'd rather do any task
themselves than to give it to her. At last she had become an old woman,
shriveled, grim, still bitter about her fate.

No one was more surprised than Uncle Dyke Garrett when she sent for him.

"Granny Partlow craved baptism," Uncle Dyke remembered the story as
clearly as though it had happened but yesterday. "The ice was all of a
foot thick in the creek but men cut it with ax and maddock, spade and
saw. It had to be a big opening to make room for Deborah Partlow and her
chair. Though her children and grandchildren and old Obadiah
protested--'It'll kill you!' 'You'll be stone dead before
night!'--Granny had her way. Nor would she put on her bonnet or shawl.
Resolute, she sat straight in her chair as neighbor men packed her
through the snow to the creek. The women standing on the bank wept and
wailed till they couldn't sing a hymn. 'It'll kill Granny Partlow!' they

Uncle Dyke was silent a long moment. "No one could ever rightly say how
it come about. But the minute my two helpers brought the old woman up
out of the icy waters she leaped out of her chair and took off up the
bank for home, fleet as a partridge, through snow up to her knees,
holding up her petticoats with both hands as she flew along. Lived to be
a hundred and three. Hoed corn the day she died of sunstroke." The Good
Shepherd of the Hills sighed contentedly. "Deborah Partlow bein'
baptized under ice brought a heap of converts to religion."

"But that baptizin' caused me no end of anxiety," Aunt Sallie took up
the story. "That day when Dyke went out to saddle old Beck the snow was
plum up to his boot tops. The mountains were white all around and the
creek froze in a sheet of ice. But go Dyke would. I wropt his muffler
twice around his neck, got his yarn mittens and pulse warmers too and
throwed a sheep hide over the top of his wood saddle and one under
it--to ease the nag's back. He had wooden stirrups too. Made the whole
thing himself. I dreaded to see Dyke ride off that winter's day for
there was a sharp wind that come down out of the hollow and froze even
the breath of him on his long black beard till it looked white--white as
it is today. I watched him ride off. Heard the nag's feet crunching in
the snow. All of three full days and nights he was gone, for at best the
road to Hart County was rough and hard to travel. In the meantime come a
blizzard. Not a soul passed this way, so I got no word of Dyke. I
conjured a thousand thoughts in my mind. Maybe he'd met the same fate of
old man Frasher who fell over a cliff in a blinding snowstorm. Maybe the
nag had stumbled and sent Dyke headlong over some steep ridge. The
children, we had several then, could see I was troubled, though I tried
to hide it. Finally on the third night I had put our babes to bed and
was sitting by the fire too troubled to sleep. I had about give up hope
of seeing Dyke alive again. It was in the dead of night I heard a voice.
It sounded strange and far off, calling 'Hallo! Hallo!', more like a
pitiful moan it was. I lighted a pine stick at the hearth and hurried as
best I could through the snow to where the voice was coming from. I
stumbled once and fell over a stump and the pine torch fell from my
hand. It sputtered in the snow and nearly went out before I could pull
myself up to my feet. And all the time the voice seemed to be getting
farther away. But it wasn't. It was just getting weaker. In a few more
steps I come on the nag deep in a snowdrift up to its shanks and there
slumped over in the saddle was Dyke. His feet were froze fast in the
stirrups. He was numb and nigh speechless. I wropt my shawl around him
and hurried, back to the house, heated the fire poker red hot and with
it I thawed Dyke Garrett's boots loose from them wooden stirrups." Aunt
Sallie sighed. "Of course no mortal can tell when salvation will take
holt on their heart but after Granny Partlow's baptizing and Dyke having
to be thawed out of his stirrups I was powerful thankful when the Spirit
descended on a sinner in fair weather."

"It's not always womenfolks like Granny Partlow who are slow to open
their heart to the Spirit. Now take Captain Anderson!

"In his home there never lived a more free-hearted man. Loved to have
folks come and stay as long as they liked. Once I recall a man came to
the county seat in court week. He was making tintypes and charged a few
cents for them. Captain Anderson had his picture made and was so pleased
with it he coaxed the fellow to go home with him so that he could get a
tintype of Levicy and the children. He never stopped until he had ten
dollars' worth of tintypes and then he didn't want the fellow to leave.
But he did. Finally settled over on Beaver. His name was Jerome Bailey
and he died a rich man and always said he got his start with the ten
dollars he earned making tintypes for Captain Anderson Hatfield."

Uncle Dyke reflected a long moment. "There's good in all of us no matter
how wicked we may seem to others. And down deep in the heart of me I
knew my Captain would one day open his heart to salvation."

Anyone could tell you how the Good Shepherd of the Hills through the
long years had pleaded and prayed with Devil Anse to forsake the thorny
path, even far back when they returned from the Home War. Already the
Captain of the Wildcats had made a notch on his gunstock by killing
Harmon McCoy in 1863. He was already the leader of his clan. And all the
time Uncle Dyke kept pleading with his comrade to give up sin. But not
until Uncle Dyke Garrett had preached and prayed for nearly fifty years
and Devil Anse too had become an old man did he admit the error of his
way. Not until then were the patience, faith, and hope of Uncle Dyke

"It was one of the happiest days of my life," he told me, "when Captain
Anderson took my hand. Sitting right here we were together. It was in
the falling weather. These hills all around about were a blaze of glory,
like they are today. And here sat Captain Anderson, in this very rocking
chair where Miss Sallie is sitting now. We were alone. Miss Sallie was
busy with her posies down yonder near the gate. 'Dyke,' says the Captain
of the Logan Wildcats, in a voice so soft I could scarce hear, 'I've
come into the light! I crave to own my God and Redeemer. I long to go
down into the waters of baptism and be washed spotless of my
transgressions.' I could not move hand or foot. My tongue clove to the
roof of my mouth. Captain Anderson gripped the arms of the rocker there
as if to steady himself. A man who had tracked mountain lion and bear,
panther and catamount. I could see the face of him, that old
daredeviltry vanish away and on his countenance a childlike look of
repentance. It took a heap o' courage for Captain Anderson to admit his
transgressions even to me, his lifelong friend. But I always knew that
down deep in the heart of him there was good and that his hour would
come when he'd fall upon his knees before the Master and say, 'Here I
am, forgive me Lord, a poor sinner!' But when the words fell from his
trembling lips I could not even cry out in rejoicing, 'Thank God!', like
I always aimed to do when my comrade should come within the fold. I sat
with my jaws locked, my tongue stilled. Captain Anderson spoke again.
'Dyke,' sez he, 'brother Dyke ...' I could feel my heart pounding like
it would burst out of my breast. 'Brother Dyke,' he repeated the words
slowly, pleadingly, 'ain't you aimin' to give me the hand of
fellowship?' Then, still unable to utter a word, I reached out my hand
and my comrade seized it, gripped it tight. There we sat looking at each
other and so Miss Sallie found us as she came up the path there with her
arms filled with posies, golden glow, and scarlet sage, and snow-white
pretty-by-night just burst into bloom for it was sundown. 'Men!' said
she, 'at last you're brothers in the faith! I know it. Ah! I'd know it
from the look of peace on the faces of the two of you, even if I did not
witness the sign of your hands clasped in fellowship!' The next Sabbath
day, it fell like on the third Sunday of the month, we witnessed the
baptism of a once proud and desperate rebel. A rebel against the Master!
The baptism of him and six of his sons as well who had not before
received salvation."

Swiftly the word passed along the creeks and through the quiet hollows.
"Devil Anse has come through!" There was great rejoicing throughout the
West Virginia hills, indeed throughout the southern mountains. Not only
the leader of the Hatfields, but six of his sons, had "got religion" and
"craved baptism." Hundreds flocked from out the hollows of West Virginia
and Kentucky to witness the Hatfield baptizing.

That was another autumn day only a few years ago as time goes.

The sun was sinking behind the mountain, casting long shadows on the
waters of Island Creek when the Good Shepherd of the Hills moved slowly
down the bank to the water's edge. Behind him followed his old friend,
no longer the emboldened Devil Anse with fire in his eagle eye, but a
meek, a silent, penitent figure. The autumn breeze stirred his
snow-white hair, his scant gray beard. Upon his breast the old clansman
held respectfully his wide-brimmed felt as he walked with head uplifted
in supplication. Behind him followed his six sons. Jonse came first,
Jonse, who had loved pretty Rosanna McCoy, reckless Jonse, who like his
father had slain he alone knew how many of the other side. Then came
Cap, Elias, Joseph, Troy, Robert.

Slowly and with steady stride Uncle Dyke walked into the water. Up to
the waist he stood holding the frayed Bible in his extended right hand.
"Except ye shall repent and go into the waters of baptism ye shall
perish. But if ye repent and accept salvation, though your sins be as
scarlet they shall be washed whiter than snow," the voice of the Good
Shepherd of the Hills drifted down the valley.

"Amen!" intoned the trembling voice of Devil Anse.

"Amen!" echoed the six sons grouped about their aged sire.

Then Aunt Levicy, wife of the grim clansman, began singing in a
quavering voice:

                  Amazing grace, how sweet the sound
                  That saved a wretch like me;
                  I once was lost, but now I'm found,
                  Was blind, but now I see.

The wives and daughters, mothers, sisters, and sweethearts of McCoys
took up the doleful strain:

               'Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
               And grace my fears relieved;
               How precious did that grace appear
               The hour I first believed.

"Hit's our sign of peace!" shouted old Aunt Emmie McCoy clapping her
palsied hands high above her head, "the sign of peace 'twixt us and
t'other side!" Whereupon Young Emmie McCoy, still in her teens, who had
loved Little Sid Hatfield since their first day at school on Mate Creek,
threw her arms about his sister and cried, "Can't no one keep me and
Little Sid apart from this day on."

"Amen!" the voice of Devil Anse led the solemn chant. "Amen! God be

Jonse, the first-born of the Hatfields, bowed his head and his
deep-throated "Amen! God be praised!" echoed down the valley. Then Cap
and Troy, Tennis, Elias, Joe, Willis, and the rest joined in. All eyes
turned toward Jonse. He who had loved pretty Rosanna McCoy when he was a
lad, she a shy little miss.

Many at the baptizing remembered the first meeting of the two
star-crossed lovers one autumn day long ago on Blackberry Creek. The day
when young Randall and Tolbert, her brothers, were there. Old folks
remembered too the time when Devil Anse had slain Harmon McCoy. But that
was long ago and forgiven. "Let bygones be bygones," Levicy had pleaded
with her mate, and Sarah, wife of Old Randall, did likewise with her
spouse. But only Levicy, of the two sorely tried women, had survived to
witness the answer to her prayers--peace between the households with the
baptism of Devil Anse and his six sons.

As one by one they went down into the waters of baptism, it was the
voice of Levicy Chafin Hatfield that led in that best-loved hymn tune of
the mountains:

  On Jordan's stormy banks I stand and cast a wistful eye
  Toward Canaan's fair and happy land where my possessions lie.
  I'm bound for the Promised Land, I'm bound for the Promised Land.
  Oh! who will come and go with me, I'm bound for the Promised Land.

The hills gave back the echo of their song.

It was a day of rejoicing.

As for Uncle Dyke Garrett he continued to journey up and down the broad
valley and through the hills, preaching the Gospel of repentance,
forgiveness, salvation. Above all he told of the baptism of Captain
Anderson and his six boys.

From the very first Dyke Garrett was more than a preacher.

Along lonely creeks into quiet hollows he went to pray at the bedside of
the dying, to comfort the bereft, to rejoice with the penitent. In the
early days he was the only visitor beyond the family's own blood kin, so
remote were the homes of the settlers one from the other. Like a breath
from the outside world were Uncle Dyke's words of cheer, while to him
they in the lonely cabins were indeed voices crying out in the
wilderness. Nor did flood nor storm, his own discomfort and hardship
deter him. Winter and summer, through storm and wind, he rode bearing
the good tidings to the people of the West Virginia ruggeds.

And now here he sat this autumn day in 1937, alert and happy for all his
ninety-six years. Bless you, he even talked of fighting!

"If anyone jumped on these United States without a good cause," he
declared vehemently, "I'd fight for my country--" Uncle Dyke didn't
quibble his words. "That is to say if Uncle Sam would take me. Me and my
sword!" Again he faltered, adding reflectively, "But after all the Bible
is the better weapon. With it I can conquer all things."

Slowly he arose from his chair and Aunt Sallie and I did likewise.

"Come," he invited, "I want you to see for yourself where I've baptized
many a one that has come to me." He pointed to a pool in the creek
beyond the house where he had made a small dam. As we stood together it
was on the tip of my tongue to ask how many couples he had baptized, how
many he had married. Abruptly with the uncanny sense of the mountaineer
he lifted the questions out of my mind, though it could have been
because so many others had asked the same things. "I've never kept count
of the wedding ceremonies I have performed, nor of the baptisms," he
said thoughtfully. "I have always felt that if it was the Lord's work I
was doing, He would keep the count."

You didn't have to ask Uncle Dyke Garrett either which were the happiest
days of his long life. You'd know from the look he bestowed upon his
frail mate that his supreme happy hour was when he married Miss Sallie
Smith. "My wedding day," he was saying as if the question had been
asked, "that was the happiest day of my whole life. And next to that
comes the day when the Lord chose me to administer baptism to Captain
Anderson and his six boys. Such hours as these are a taste of heaven
upon earth." His voice was hushed with solemnity. His brimming eyes were
lifted to the hills. "Though it was a day of sorrow I am grateful that
it also fell to my lot to preach the funeral of my lifelong friend
Captain Anderson. Most of all though, my heart rejoiced because Captain
Anderson had become like a little child, meek and penitent, worthy to
enter the fold."

Uncle Dyke sat silent a long time. His wrinkled hands cupped bony knees.
"It brought peace to Levicy's troubled heart." His eyes grew misty with
unshed tears. "I see her now as she lay so peaceful in her shroud and on
her bosom the gold breast pin she prized so much that Captain Anderson
brought her the time he was stormbound, when he met that scalawag
brother of Jesse James. She loved posies did Levicy and every springtime
we take some to her grave, me and Miss Sallie."

At this, Miss Sallie, slipping her small hand through the bend of his
arm, led the way down the flower-bordered path. "Posies are the
brightness of a body's days," she said softly. "You can't just set them
out and they'll bloom big. You have to work with them. Posies and human
creatures are a heap alike. Sometimes they have to be pampered. Like
Dyke here," she smiled up at her aged mate. "I had to understand his
ways, else I'd never have tamed him," she persisted. "He's the last
surviving one of his company--the Logan Wildcats." Aunt Sallie's blue
eyes lighted with pride. "I like to think of him outlasting me too."

I'd remember them always as they stood there in the sunset with the
golden glow and scarlet sage and the snow-white pretty-by-night all
about them, the two smiling contentedly as I waved them good-by far down
at the bend of the road.

It was the last time I ever saw Uncle Dyke alive. The next May--1938--he
died. I was gratified that it fell to my lot to attend his funeral. And
what a worthy eulogy the Reverend John McNeely, whom Uncle Dyke always
referred to as "my son in the Gospel," preached, taking for his text "My
servant, Moses, is dead," a text that the two had agreed upon long
before the Good Shepherd of the Hills passed away.

That day when the sermon was ended the great throng that filled the
valley and the hillsides, gathering about the baptismal pool he himself
had fashioned, sang Uncle Dyke's favorite hymn. Their voices blending
like the notes of a giant organ swelled and filled the deep valley:

            Like a star in the morning in its beauty,
            Like the sun is the Bible to my soul,
            Shining clear on the way of life and beauty,
            As I hasten on my journey to the goal.

            'Tis a lamp in the wilderness of sorrow,
            'Tis a light on the weary pilgrim's way,
            It will guide to the bright eternal morrow,
            Shining more and more unto the Perfect Day.

            'Tis the voice of a friend forever near me,
            In the toil and the battle here below,
            In the gloom of the valley, it shall cheer me,
            Till the glory of the kingdom I shall know.

            I shall stand in its glory and its beauty,
            Till the earth and the heavens pass away,
            Ever telling the wondrous, blessed story
            Of the loving Lamb, the only living way.

Uncle Dyke chose also his own grave site in the family burying ground
overlooking the house where he'd lived seventy-one years. Often he had
visited the spot and picked out the place beside him where Miss Sallie
should be laid to rest. His life had ended almost where it began. The
house in which he was born stands only a few miles from that in which he

"He built this house his own self," Aunt Sallie quietly reiterated that
evening as some of us lingered to comfort her. "We came here to Big
Creek soon as we married. We've lived here seventy-one year." Through
brimming eyes she gazed toward the new-made grave. "We traveled a long
way together, me and Dyke--" a sob shook the frail little body--"and
now, I'm goin' to be mighty lonesome."

Big Meeting is still carried on just as Uncle Dyke wished it.

In September, 1940, I went again to mingle with the hundreds who show
their reverence for the Good Shepherd of the Hills by keeping fresh in
memory his teaching through their prayers and hymns at the Big Meeting
each autumn. And here again a worthy follower of Uncle Dyke Garrett
eulogized his deeds and mourned his loss. And close by, for all her
ninety-two years, his beloved Miss Sallie, with a trembling hand on the
arm of a kinsman, listened intently while those who knew and loved him
extolled her lost mate.

And now Miss Sallie is gone too. She died on July 28, 1941, at the age
of ninety-three and loving hands place mountain flowers on her grave and
that of Levicy Hatfield far across the mountain.

                             TAKING SIDES

Some took sides in the feuds that have been carried on throughout the
Blue Ridge Country and thereby got themselves enthralled, while others,
more tactful, managed to keep aloof and remain friends with the

There's Uncle Chunk Craft on Millstone Creek in Letcher County. Enoch is
his real name. There's nothing he likes better than to tell of the days
when he was one of Morgan's raiders. Then, when he was only twenty-two,
that was in 1864, Uncle Chunk slept in a cornfield near Greenville,
Tennessee, the very night General John Hunt Morgan, who had taken
shelter in a house a couple of miles away, was betrayed by the woman of
the house and shot to death by Unionists.

"We were tuckered out," he said, "had tramped through rain and mud and
finally rolled in our blankets, if we were lucky enough to have one, and
fell asleep wherever it was. I burrowed in with a comrade. But we didn't
get much rest. For, first thing you know, seemed I'd just dozed off,
someone come shoutin' through the cornfield that the General had been
killed. We shouldered our muskets and stumbled off through the field,
grumbling and growling that we'd 'tend to the ones that had betrayed
him. But even if the woman had been found I reckon we'd a-shunned
killin' her. There's a heap that goes on in war that a man don't like to
think on."

Uncle Chunk was proud to own, however, that he saw hard fighting through
Virginia, Tennessee, and Kentucky and was glad enough when the war was
ended. He came back, married Polly Ann Caudill, and settled down in
Letcher. It wasn't long until another war started. This time between his
neighbors. But with all the carryings-on between John Wright and Clabe
Jones in the adjoining counties of Floyd and Knott, Enoch Craft managed
to stay friends with both sides. Whichever side happened to round in at
his home, hungry and footsore from scouting in the woods for the other
faction, found a welcome at Uncle Chunk's and plenty to eat. "Fill up
the kittle, Polly Ann," he'd call to his wife, as he went on digging
potatoes. "Here comes some of John Wright's crew." Or, "Put on the
beans, I see Clabe Jones's men comin'!"

And fill up the kettle Polly Ann did.

After the belligerents had eaten their fill, Uncle Chunk would try to
reason with them to let the troubles drop. "A man thinks better on a
full gut than a empty one," he argued. And at last, through his help,
the Clabe Jones-John Wright feud ended.

                   *       *       *       *       *

In Bloody Breathitt in 1886, Willie Sewell was shot from ambush while
making molasses on Frozen Creek. That started feeling, for Willie had
lots of kinfolks. He himself was not without sin, for he had killed
Jerry South. The Souths were related to the Cockrells. But when Willie
Sewell, who was a half-brother of Jim and Elbert Hargis, was shot the
trouble, which became the Hargis-Cockrell feud, really began.

A quarter of a century after one of the most famous of Kentucky mountain
trials--when Curt Jett was tried for the assassination of James B.
Marcum and James Cockrell--the trouble was revived with the killing of
Clay Watkins by Chester Fugate. This uprising, it was said, started when
Sewell Fugate was defeated by Clay Watkins for the office of chairman of
the county Board of Education. Chester quarreled with Clay over a petty
debt. Three years before that time Amos, cousin of Chester, had shot and
killed Deputy Sheriff Green Watkins, brother of Clay. When an enraged
posse found Amos they filled him with bullets. Sixty years before, Hen
Kilburn, grandfather of Chester Fugate, was taken from the county jail
in Jackson and lynched for killing a man. It was the first time such a
lynching had occurred at the county seat.

On Christmas morning in 1929, Chester Fugate was taken from the same
jail and shot to death, but not in the courthouse yard. The posse took
him out to a farm some miles away. That was the second lynching in
Bloody Breathitt. There was a heavy snow on the ground, making a soft
carpet for the swiftly moving feet of the mob numbering more than a
score, as they hurried their victim away. Before entering Fugate's cell,
they had bound the jailer, S. L. Combs, to make sure of no interference
from that source.

Some miles from the county seat they stopped in a thicket on a farm.

That morning farmer Jones got up before daylight and with lantern on arm
went out to milk the cows and feed the stock. He halted suddenly in the
unbeaten snow for from a nearby thicket came a strange sound. At first
the farmer thought it the moaning of a trapped animal. Holding the
lantern overhead he stumbled on a few yards to find Chester Fugate in a
pool of blood that stained the snow all about the crumpled figure.
Bleeding profusely from thirteen gunshot wounds, Chester survived long
enough to give the names of at least six of his assailants.

It was another outbreak in the Hargis-Cockrell feud.

Five of the men in the mob surrendered. They were bound over and
released on bail. All were kin of Clay Watkins: Samuel J. was his
brother, L. K. Rice his son-in-law, Allie Watkins his son, and Earl and
Bent Howard were his nephews. The men signed their own bonds together
with Jack Howard, uncle of Bent and Earl. The name of Elbert Hargis was
also affixed to the bonds. The sixth man named by Chester Fugate before
he died was Lee Watkins, a cousin of Clay, who said he would surrender.

The trouble went back more than a quarter of a century when Curtis
Jett--his friends called him Curt--and others assassinated James B.
Marcum and James Cockrell. Curt was a nephew of county Judge James
Hargis, who was said by some to be the master mind behind the murders.

The state militia was called out to preserve order during the trial.

Things had been turbulent in Breathitt before. Back in 1878 Judge
William Randall fled the bench after the slaying of county Judge John
Burnett and his wife. However, the commencement of the Hargis-Cockrell
feud in 1899 was over a contested election of county officers. The
Fusionists or Republicans declared their men the winners, while the
Democrats were equally certain of triumph. James Hargis was the
Democrats' candidate for county judge, Ed Callahan for sheriff.

The leading law firm in all of eastern Kentucky at the time was that of
James B. Marcum and O. H. Pollard, but when the election contest arose,
the men dissolved partnership. Marcum represented the Republican
contestants, his former partner looked to the affairs of the Democrats.
Until this time Marcum had been a close personal friend as well as legal
adviser to James Hargis.

Depositions for the contestants were being taken in Marcum's office when
the two lawyers almost came to blows over Pollard's cross-examination of
a witness, with Hargis and Callahan sitting close by. Harsh words were
uttered and pistols drawn, and Hargis, Callahan, and Pollard were
ordered from Marcum's office. When warrants were issued for them and
Marcum also by police Judge T. P. Cardwell, Marcum appeared in court and
paid a fine of twenty dollars. But Jim Hargis refused to be tried by
Cardwell--the two men had been bad friends for some time. Then, instead
of attempting alone the arrest of Hargis, the town marshal of Jackson,
Tom Cockrell, called on his brother Jim to lend a hand.

It is said that when Tom went to arrest Hargis the latter refused to
surrender, drawing his gun. But Tom covered Jim Hargis first. Whereupon
Hargis's friend, Ed Callahan, who was close, covered Tom Cockrell and in
the bat of an eye Jim Cockrell, his brother, covered Callahan. Seeing
that the Cockrells had the best of them, both Jim Hargis and Ed Callahan
surrendered. That incident passed without bloodshed and Marcum himself
sent word to police Judge Cardwell that he didn't want to prosecute
Hargis and asked that the case be dismissed, as it was.

That same year there was a school election.

"Marcum flew in a rage," said Hargis, "when I accused him of trying to
vote a minor and he pulled his pistol on me but did not shoot."

Though that difference was also patched up, the families began taking
sides in the many quarrels that followed. Accusations were made first by
one side, then the other. Marcum accused Callahan of killing his uncle,
and Callahan in turn charged that his father had been slain by Marcum's

In July, 1902, the flames of the feud were fanned to white heat.

Tom Cockrell, a minor, fought a pistol duel with Ben Hargis, Jim's
brother, in a blind tiger, leaving Ben dead upon the floor. Tom was
defended by his kinsman, J. B. Marcum, without fee. Tom's guardian, Dr.
B. D. Cox, one of the leading physicians in Jackson, was married to a
Cardwell whose family belonged to the Cockrell clan.

It was not long after Ben Hargis's death that his brother John, "Tige,"
was slain by Jerry Cardwell. Jerry claimed that it was in the exercise
of his duty as train detective.

"Tige was disorderly," Jerry said, "when I tried to arrest him."

Anyway pistols were fired; Jerry was only wounded but Tige was killed.
His death was followed shortly by that of Jim Hargis's half-brother. The
shot came from ambush one night while he was making sorghum at his home,
and no one knew who fired it.

On another night not long thereafter, Dr. Cox, who was guardian of the
minor Tom Cockrell and the other Cockrell children, was hurrying along
the streets of Jackson to the bedside of a patient.

When the doctor reached the corner across from the courthouse and in
almost direct line with Judge Hargis's stable, he dropped with a bullet
through the heart. Another shot was fired at close range and lodged in
the doctor's body.

The evidence disclosed that at the time of the shooting Judge Hargis and
Ed Callahan were standing together in the rear of Hargis's stable from
which direction the shots came. The Cockrells stated that Dr. Cox had
been slain because of his family relationship with them and because of
his participation in the defense of young Tom Cockrell, his ward.

The story of Dr. Cox's death was still on many lips when Curt Jett, who
was Sheriff Ed Callahan's deputy, met Jim Cockrell in the dining room of
the Arlington Hotel where they engaged in a quarrel and exchange of
bullets. Neither was injured, but bad feeling continued between them.

Sometime during the morning of July 28, 1902, Curt and a couple of
friends concealed themselves in the courthouse. At noon that day, in
broad daylight, Jim Cockrell was shot dead on the street from a
second-story window of the building. Across the way, from a second-story
window of Hargis's store, Judge Jim Hargis and Sheriff Ed Callahan saw
the shooting.

Jim Cockrell had assisted his brother, the town marshal, in arresting
Jim Hargis and was the recognized leader of the Cockrell faction. He had
spared no effort in obtaining evidence in his brother's behalf when
young Tom was tried for killing Ben Hargis in the blind tiger.

Under cover of darkness Curt Jett and his companions were spirited away
from the courthouse on horseback and no arrests were made.

In the meantime the trial of young Tom Cockrell for killing Ben Hargis
was moved to Campton, but Judge Jim Hargis and his brother, Senator Alex
Hargis, declared that they'd never reach Campton alive if they should go
there to prosecute young Tom. So the case was dismissed. "Our enemies
would kill us somewhere along the mountain road," the Hargises declared.

Jim Hargis loved his wife and children. He idolized his son Beach, who
spent his days hanging around his father's store and squandering money
that the doting parent supplied.

Up to November 9, 1902, according to information supplied by J. B.
Marcum, there had been thirty persons killed in Breathitt County as a
result of the feeling between the factions and to quote Marcum's own
words, "the Lord only knows how many wounded."

After Marcum's assassination on May 4, 1903, his widow wrote the
_Lexington Herald_ that there had been thirty-eight homicides in
Breathitt County during the time James Hargis presided as county judge.
J. B. Marcum and his wife both had known for a long time that he was a
marked man. Indeed, ever since he had represented the Fusionists in
contesting the election of Jim Hargis as county judge, it was an open
secret that Marcum would meet his doom sooner or later. Added to this
was the animosity aroused on the Hargis side by Marcum's defense of
young Tom Cockrell for killing Jim Hargis's brother Ben.

Marcum made an affidavit which he filed in the Breathitt Circuit Court
declaring that he was marked for death. Others substantiated his
statement by swearing to various plots that had been concocted to
assassinate him. As a matter of fact while the feeling was raging high
in the contest case he was a prisoner in his own home for seventy-two
days, afraid to step out on his own porch. To protect himself against
bullets he had a barricade built joining the rear of his house with a
small yard. Whenever he left his home, which was seldom, he was
accompanied by his wife and he carried one of his small children.

Once he went to Washington and stayed a month. It was during that time
that his friend Dr. Cox was assassinated. A client of Marcum's by the
name of Mose Feltner came to his home to acquaint the lawyer with a plot
against his life. Mose told how he had been given thirty-five dollars to
commit the deed and a shotgun for the purpose. He also took Marcum to a
woods and showed where four Winchester rifles had been concealed by him
and his three companions. The guns, Mose said, were kept there during
the day but were carried at night so that if he or his companions met
Marcum they were prepared to kill him. The plot, so Mose declared, was
to entice Marcum to his office on some pretext or other. Mose was to
waylay him and pull the trigger. Mose went further. He told Marcum that
the county officials had promised him immunity from punishment if he
would carry out the plot and kill Marcum. When at last the election
contest furore had quieted down Marcum concluded it was safe to venture
forth to his law office and resume his practice.

On the morning of May 4th he had gone to the courthouse to file some
papers in the case. He lingered for a while in the corridor to greet
this one and that, then walked slowly through the corridor toward the
front door. From where he stood talking with a friend, Benjamin Ewen,
Marcum could see across the street Judge James Hargis and Sheriff Ed
Callahan sitting in rocking chairs in front of Hargis's store. When the
shots were fired that killed Marcum neither Hargis nor Callahan stirred.
Their view was uninterrupted when the lifeless body plunged forward.
They remained seated in their rocking chairs, looking neither to right
nor to left. They made no effort to find out who did the shooting.

"My God! they have killed me!" cried Marcum as bullets struck through
the spine and skull and he lunged forward dead.

Curt Jett, tall and angular with red hair and deep-set blue eyes, a man
of many escapades, was convicted of the murder and sent to the
penitentiary for life. The evidence of Captain B. J. Ewen, with whom
Marcum was talking when shot, disclosed that Tom White, one of the
conspirators, walked past Marcum glaring at him to attract his
attention. As he did so Curt in the rear of the hallway of the
courthouse fired the shots. Curt Jett's mother was a sister to Judge
Hargis, and Curt, though only twenty-four at the time, was a deputy
under Ed Callahan.

Nine years later on the morning of May 4, 1912, Ed Callahan, while
sitting in his store at Crockettsville, a village some twenty-five miles
from Jackson, the county seat, was killed. Callahan too was a marked man
and knew it. Connecting his house and the store he had built a stockade
to insure his safety as he passed from one to the other. There was a
telephone on the wall near the back window of the store and he had just
hung up the receiver after talking to a neighbor when two bullets in
quick succession whizzed through the window from somewhere across the
creek. One entered Callahan's breast, the other his thigh. Members of
his family rushed to his side and carried him, sheltered by the
stockade, to his home where he died.

The old law of Moses, "an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth" still

It is estimated that from 1902, when the Hargis-Cockrell feud started
over an election contest, to 1912, more than one hundred men had lost
their lives.

Like the feuds of Scotland, those of the southern mountains usually
found kin standing by kin, but sometimes they quarreled and killed each
other. In the Hargis-Cockrell feud, Marcum's sister was the wife of Alex
Hargis. Curt Jett's mother was a half-sister to Alex and Jim Hargis. His
father was a brother of the mother of the Cockrells, Tom and Jim. Yet
Curt was openly accused of killing Jim Cockrell. Dr. Cox, who was slain
early in the fray, was the guardian of young Tom Cockrell and Mrs. Cox
was a sister of the police judge of Jackson, T. P. Cardwell, Jr., who
was in office when he issued warrants for Marcum, Jim Hargis, and Ed
Callahan when they had quarreled in Pollard's law office at the time
depositions were being taken in the election contest.

Though Curt Jett, Mose Feltner, John Abner, and John Smith confessed to
the assassination of J. B. Marcum, saying Jim Hargis and Ed Callahan
planned the crime, Hargis and Callahan protested innocence. Even so
Marcum's widow got a judgment for $8000 against the two for killing her
husband. After John Smith confessed and was dismissed he turned bitterly
against Hargis and Callahan and their faction and was suspected of
attempting to assassinate Callahan a year before the deed was

Around the store of Judge James Hargis conversation turned often to the
troubles. If a woman came in to buy a can of baking powder she looked
stealthily about before gossiping with another. If a man entered to buy
a plug of tobacco or a poke of nails to mend a barn or fence, his swift
eye swept the faces of customers and loiterers and presently he'd sidle
off to one side and talk with some of his friends.

Young Beach Hargis, upon whom his father doted, heard this talk. He knew
of the feeling of the different ones connected with the trouble. It was
talked not only around the store but in the Hargis home. When the father
wasn't about Beach and his mother mulled it over. Beach never was a lad
to work. "Why should I?" he argued. "Pa's got plenty. And I aim to get
what's coming to me while the old man's living."

If the father protested that Beach was squandering too much money, the
mother shielded her son and wheedled Jim Hargis into giving him more.

"He's been pampered too much, Louellen," Judge Hargis often remonstrated
with his wife. "Should we spare the rod and spoil the child?" And
sometimes Evylee, Beach's sister, would plead with her father to forgive
Beach once again for drunkenness and waywardness. Evylee had been away
to school at Oxford University in Ohio near Cincinnati. She loved the
nice things of life, particularly learning. Judge Hargis was an
indulgent father. He wanted his children to have the best, both in
education and dress. He wanted his boy Beach to go through college. But
Beach had no fondness for book-learning or fine clothes.

"I've give up trying to do anything with him, Louellen," said Jim Hargis
to his wife one day when they were together in the sitting room of their
home. "Look yonder there he goes." He pointed a condemning finger at
Beach reeling drunk along the sidewalk.

"Don't fret, Pa," Mrs. Hargis pleaded with her husband. "He's young.
He'll mend his ways. Don't forsake him."

That was the day before the homicide.

Next day Beach was still drunk. He swaggered into the store, leered
about for his father, and not seeing him stumbled on past the racks
where the guns lay, past the shelves laden with cartridges and shells,
on into the rear room where coffins were lined in a somber row. Judge
Hargis kept a general store that carried in stock most anything you
could call for from baking soda and beeswax to plows, guns and coffins.
Beach didn't notice the black-covered coffins or the guns. He stumbled
along to a corner of the wareroom where he slumped on a keg of nails.
There he sat a while mumbling to himself. His eyes were bloodshot, his
face swollen from a fall or a fight. "The old man punched me in the
jaw," he kept repeating, "and I'll--I'll--"

Frightened clerks hurried past him in waiting upon customers. No one
tried to listen or understand. Beach kept on mumbling. After awhile he
staggered out again. Later that same day he went to a barber shop for a
shave and haircut. Suddenly he raised up from the chair and leering
toward the street muttered at a man passing, "I thought that was the old
man going yonder." It was not Judge Hargis, the barber assured Beach, so
the drunken fellow settled back in the chair and the barber proceeded to
lather his face.

Beach's sister, who was married to Dr. Hogg, often took her drunken
brother in.

"Evylee's got no right to harbor Beach," Judge Hargis complained to his
wife. "He's tore up our home and he will do the same for Evylee and her
husband and for Dr. Hogg's business too. He's a plum vagabond and
spoiled. And put on top of that whiskey, and a gun in his hand, the Lord
only knows what that boy will do."

Out of one scrape into another, in jail and out, Beach Hargis went his
way. The mother pleading with the father to forgive him and let him have
another chance. The sister pleaded with Beach to quit drinking and

On the 17th day of February, 1908, Beach, still maudlin drunk, went
again into his father's store. He didn't look at the guns in the racks
this time. He glanced toward the wareroom where the black coffins stood
in a row on wooden horses. "I'm looking for the old man," he muttered to
a clerk. Then he reeled toward the counter and asked the clerk to give
him a pistol. The clerk refused, saying he could not take a pistol out
of stock, but added, "Your Pa's pistol is yonder in his desk drawer. You
can take that."

Beach helped himself.

In the meantime Judge Hargis had come into the store just as Beach, with
the pistol concealed in his shirt, went out.

In the drugstore of his brother-in-law, Dr. Hogg, Beach terrorized
customers and the proprietor by pointing his pistol around
promiscuously. He reeled out of the place without firing, however, and
went back to his father's store. Someone later said all he had been
drinking was a bottle of Brown's Bitters.

From where Judge Hargis stood in one part of the double storeroom he
could see Beach sitting cross-legged in a chair near the front door.
Beach spat on his shoe and slowly whetted his pocket knife, scowling
sullenly now and then in his father's direction. He clicked the blade of
his knife shut and slipped it into his pocket and sat with his arms
dangling at his sides, head slumped on his breast.

A customer came in and asked Judge Hargis, "Where's Beach?"

The father pointed to the son. "There he is. I have done all I can for
him and I cannot go about him or have anything to do with him." Then
Judge Hargis repeated that Beach was destroying his business and would
do the same with Dr. Hogg's business if Evylee kept on harboring him.

Not a word was spoken between father and son. But as Jim Hargis walked
in his direction, Beach pulled himself up out of his chair, stepped
around behind the spool case that stood on the end of the counter,
leered at his father and moved toward him. Beach came within three feet
of his father. The next thing they were grappling.

Terrified bystanders and clerks heard the report of five pistol shots.
All five of the shots lodged in Jim Hargis's body. By this time the two
men were on the floor. The father holding the son down with one arm,
lifted in his right the smoking pistol. "He has shot me all to pieces,"
gasped Judge Hargis as he handed the pistol to a bystander. He died in a
few minutes.

Loyal to her unfortunate son, Louellen, the widow of Judge Hargis, set
about to get the ablest lawyers in the state to defend him. Will Young,
matchless orator of Rowan County, was not able to clear Beach on the
first trial. On the second, however, aided by the legal skill of
Governor William O. Bradley, D. B. Redwine, J. J. C. Bach, Sam H. Kash,
and Thomas L. Cope, Beach was sentenced to the penitentiary for life
instead of the gallows.

As the years went by the mother continued to plead for her son's
freedom. Time and again she made the journey to Frankfort to beg mercy
of the governor. Weary and sad she lingered outside the door of the
mansion. She hovered close to the entrance of the chief executive's
suite in the capitol, pleading by look, if word was denied her. Finally
the governor pardoned Beach Hargis, because, it was said, His Excellency
could no longer bear the sight of the heartbroken mother. Beach was
pardoned on promise of good behavior.

But scarcely was he back in Breathitt County when pistol shots were
heard again. He rode out to the farm of relatives a few miles from
Jackson and when the womenfolk spied him galloping up the lane they took
to the attic in terror. Beach, reeling drunk, staggered into the dining
room where the table was set for dinner. There was a platter of fried
chicken, another of hot biscuits. He shot all the biscuits off the
plate, threw the chicken out the door and didn't stop till he had
riddled every dish on the table.

The womenfolk up in the attic, with fingers to ears, stared white and
trembling at each other. Finally one of the girls reached out of the
small window up under the eaves and, with the aid of a branch from the
cherry tree close by, caught hold of the rope on the farm bell. Once the
rope was in her hand she pulled it quickly again and again. The clanging
of the bell brought the men from the fields but as they approached on
the run through the cornfield and potato patch, Beach threw a leg over
his horse and galloped away, shooting into the air.

He continued on the rampage. Out of one scrape into another.

His mother died of a broken heart. She had done all she could for her
son but Beach Hargis went his reckless way.

He was sent to prison a second time, for the safety of all concerned,
but he escaped about the time of the World War. No one has seen hide or
hair of him since then. There have been many conjectures as to his
whereabouts but no one really knows what has come of Judge Jim Hargis's

There is a fine State College in Morehead, Rowan County, Kentucky, where
Judge Will Young, whose eloquence saved Beach from the gallows, lived
and died. On the college campus there is a Hargis Hall, named for Thomas
F. Hargis, a Democrat and captain in the Confederate Army, and a
relative of the reckless Beach.

As for Beach's cousin, Curt Jett, accused of murder, rape, and even the
betrayal of a pretty mountain girl, convicted of the slaying of J. B.
Marcum, he was pardoned from the penitentiary, got religion, and was,
the last heard from, preaching the gospel through the mountains of

For all the shedding of blood of kith and kin in the Hargis-Cockrell
feud, when our country was plunged into the World War, Bloody Breathitt
had no draft quota because so many of her valiant sons hastened to

                   *       *       *       *       *

Although many of the feuds in the Blue Ridge grew out of elections, they
were not prompted by ambition, for the offices contested were not high
ones like that of senator or congressman. Frequently they were lesser
posts such as that of sheriff or jailer or school-board trustee. When
the strife finally led to assassination the motive usually was the
desire for safety. The one feared had to be removed by death.

One famous feud, however, was started over the possession of a wife's
kitchen apron.

Tom Dillam's wife left him and one day passing his farm she spied a
woman working in the field wearing one of her aprons. Mrs. Dillam flew
into a rage, climbed the rail fence, and deliberately snatched the apron
off the other woman. Tom went after her to the home of his
father-in-law, John Bohn, to recover the apron. He quarreled with his
wife and instantly killed Bohn who tried to interfere.

As the quarrels continued and the years went by, Dillam incited his
relatives and friends and armed them as well. He finally had behind him
a band of outlaws. In 1885, about the time the Martin-Tolliver feud in
Rowan County was at its height, Mrs. Dillam's brother William had a
dispute over timber with her estranged husband's brother George. Bohn
killed Dillam but as he ran for shelter he himself was slain by two
other brothers of Dillam, Sam and Curt.

As the feeling grew others were drawn into the fray. Brothers opposed
brothers. The Dillams' sister was married to Lem Buffum, and because of
Buffum's friendship with the Bohns he was hated by the Dillams.

There was a dance one Christmas night at which two of the Dillam band
were slain by Buffum. From then on Sam Dillam dogged the steps of Lem
Buffum who finally killed his tormentor. This so enraged the Dillam band
they started a reign of terror. They were openly out to get any Buffum
sympathizer. They riddled their homes with bullets, burned barns,
waylaid the sympathizers and shot them to death without warning. Once a
friend of the Buffums', Jack Smith, when the Buffum home was besieged,
rushed in and carried out the aged mother of Lem. He bore her down to
the river and leaping into a skiff rowed the old woman safely to the
other side. On his return the Dillams shot him to death from ambush.

In such a high-handed fashion did they carry on their warfare that they
made bold to seize Jake Kimbrell, a Buffum friend, at a dance. While
some of the Dillam band held their prisoner fast other members of the
crew shot him to death.

Their utter cruelty finally caused even some of their own faction to
withdraw from the feud. Tom Dillam's brother Ab said outright that if
they wanted to go on hunting Lem Buffum and terrorizing the country
they'd have to do it without him. Lem's sister was married to Ab's son
Jesse. One day in his absence they set upon Ab's house and shot it as
full of holes as a sieve.

Women and children were no longer safe and the citizens decided
something had to be done for protection. They asked the governor for
troops. His refusal was bolstered by the alibi that first it was the
duty of the sheriff of the county to attempt to capture the murderers.
Then the judge of the county called for fifty militiamen. Instead of
that number only fifteen came to restore law and order. But even before
they arrived on the scene a lad on horseback saw them coming and
galloped off to inform the outlaws who took to the woods.

With seven of the sheriff's men left to guard the home and family of
Jesse Dillam, Jesse and several others sought safety in a log house some
distance away. However, before they could reach the log house one of
their number was killed, one fled and the rest managed to escape into a
nearby thicket.

When circuit court convened soon afterward the Dillam brothers, Tom and
Curt, were arrested. Tom, having been released on a $5000 bail, was
going toward the courthouse one day with his lawyer. Following close
behind was Tom's lieutenant and another friend. On the way they passed
the house where their wounded victims were staying and when within range
of the place the outlaws drew their pistols. They did not know that Lem
Buffum and his friends had been warned and were waiting for this moment.
Suddenly a volley of bullets was poured upon the outlaws. Sixteen of the
well-aimed shots had pierced Tom Dillam's body.

Hatred and lust for murder had by this time gone deep into the heart of
Tom's son who became the leader of the band. If anyone opposed him in
anything, he knew but one way to take care of the opposition and that by
the gun. He gave one of the Dillam band twenty dollars and a gun to slay
a rival. Tom's brother Curt was finally released on bail but it was not
long until his bullet-torn body was found in the woods.

Fear on the part of those who had testified against the outlaw in his
trial impelled the removal for all time of the cause of fear. The
universe breathed easier after Tom's brother Curt was under the sod.

                       MARTIN-TOLLIVER TROUBLES

Troubles brewed around elections and courts.

Some years previously when the Talliaferro families changed their abode
from Old Virginia to settle in Morgan County, Kentucky, it wasn't long
until their name also was changed. Their neighbors found the name
Talliaferro difficult to speak and they began to shorten the syllables
to something that sounded like Tolliver. So Tolliver it was from then

Craig Tolliver's father became a prosperous farmer but with his
prosperity came quarrels with a neighbor and finally a lawsuit. Tolliver
was successful in the litigation, which incensed his neighbors. One
night as he lay asleep in his bed the irate neighbors stealthily entered
the house and shot him dead before the eyes of his fourteen-year-old
son, Craig.

This early sight of high-handed murder embittered the boy who at once
began to carry a gun and drink and lead a life of lawlessness.

In about 1880 he moved to Rowan County which became the scene of one of
the bloodiest of Kentucky feuds, that of the Martins and Tollivers.
Craig was the leader of his side. Gaunt and wiry, he stood six feet in
his boots. His long drooping mustache was a sandy color like his goatee.
His eyes, a light blue, were shifty and piercing, eyes that had the look
of a snake charming a bird. In appearance Craig was a typical desperado.
He swaggered about with gun at belt, a whiskey bottle on his hip.

At this time the secret ballot had not yet been instituted. Not only was
the name of the voter called out but his choice as well. With the open
ballot a man who bought votes knew how they were cast. Bribery and
whiskey, both of which were plentiful and freely dispensed at voting
time, went hand-in-hand with fights and corruption.

The stage was set for bloody feud in Rowan County by the time Cook
Humphrey in 1884 ran for sheriff of the county on the Republican ticket
against S. B. Gooden, Democrat.

That election day in August a group of men gathered in the courthouse
yard at Morehead, the county seat, discussing the returns in heated

Gooden lived in the town while his opponent lived about seven miles away
on his father's farm.

"Cook Humphrey won by twelve votes," someone called out. At that a
quarrel started. Fists were flying in the air. William Trumbo, kin of
John Martin's wife who was Lucy Trumbo, made a remark to a man by the
name of Price. And the next thing they were in a wrangle. There were
Tollivers and Martins present as well as friends of both families and
soon all of them were engaged in the controversy. Someone struck John
Martin, supposedly with the butt of a gun, knocking out a front tooth
and badly cutting his head. His blood stained the courthouse steps. As
he scrambled to his feet cursing vengeance against John Day and Floyd
Tolliver for wounding him, he drew his pistol and others did likewise.

The next moment Sol Bradley, the father of seven children, lay dead with
a bullet through his brain. Young Ad Sizemore caught a bullet in the

There was a dispute as to whether John Martin or Floyd Tolliver had
killed Sol Bradley, who was a friend and partisan of Cook Humphrey. It
was never decided who did the killing. But it started the
Martin-Tolliver troubles.

The wounding of Ad Sizemore was generally laid to Sheriff John Day.

Forthwith the factions organized and armed themselves. There were
Martins, Sizemores, and Humphrey on one side, Days and Tollivers on the
other side.

John Martin, the son of Ben, lived not far from his father on Christy
Creek, a few miles from Morehead. His brothers, Will and Dave, resided
nearby. They had a sister, Sue, who was as fearless as the menfolks of
her family. She resented bitterly the treatment of the Martins by the
other side. Sue lived at home with her father and mother.

The Tollivers were more widely scattered. Floyd lived in Rowan, Marion
and Craig in Morgan County, their cousins Bud, Jay, and Wiley lived in
Elliott County.

Their clansmen, all Democrats, including Tom Allen Day and his brothers
Mitch, Boone, and John, also Mace Keeton, Jeff and Alvin Bowling, James
Oxley, and Bob Messer lived in Rowan County.

The Martins, Logans, and Matt Carey, the county clerk, all Republicans
and friends of Cook Humphrey, newly elected sheriff, resented the
killing of Sol Bradley, an innocent bystander.

There had been whisperings of threats laid to both sides. "As soon as
the leaves put out good, I aim to get Floyd," Martin is reported to have
said. Similar mutterings were reported to have been uttered by Tolliver.
"I'll bide my time till the brush gets green; then I aim to have a
reckoning. That Logan outfit, well-wishers of the Martins, are getting
too uppity."

It was Fentley Muse who told a tale-bearer that no good could come of
such things and urged that all keep peace. But peace bonds were violated
as fast as they were made. Pledges by Craig Tolliver to leave the county
for good and all were broken.

There was more tale-bearing. There were those who, according to John
Martin's son Ben, later a World War hero, made the bullets for others to
shoot, including one, a doctor, whom I knew well in later years. Ben
Martin said of him angrily, "He filled more graves than any other man in
Rowan County and yet he himself never fired a shot." Ben's aged mother,
Mrs. Lucy Trumbo Martin, reiterated this often to me when I sat beside
her on the porch of the old Cottage Hotel on Railroad Street in Morehead
where much of the shooting took place. Indeed the old hostelry had been
the scene of one of the fiercest gun battles between the Martins and
Tollivers. It faced the Central Hotel across the tracks. The Galt House,
the name by which the Carey combined boarding house and grocery-saloon
was known during the Rowan County troubles, stood some distance away
across the road from the courthouse.

It was a bleak day in December, 1884, following the August election in
Rowan County when John Martin was struck on the head, that he and his
wife Lucy and two of their small children climbed into their jolt wagon
out on Christy Creek and rode into town. While his wife and the children
went to do some trading at a general store down the road, John met Sam
Gooden, John Day, and Floyd Tolliver. Words passed between Martin and
Tolliver after which John went into Carey's saloon. As he stood at the
bar Floyd Tolliver came up and repeated what he had said to Martin
outside--something to the effect that Martin had been wanting to
bulldoze him. Martin denied the charge but Tolliver repeated, "Yes, by
God, you have, and I am not going to permit it." To which Martin
answered, "If you must have a fight, I am ready for you." At this Floyd
put his hand in his pocket. Martin, thinking, so his wife and son told
me, that Floyd Tolliver was about to draw his gun, drew his own in
self-defense. Though Martin was quicker on the trigger than Tolliver,
who now had his gun out of the holster, Martin did not have time to get
his weapon completely out of his pocket. He shot through it, killing
Floyd Tolliver almost instantly. "Boys," Floyd managed to gasp, turning
his eyes toward friends who rushed into the bar, "remember what you
swore to do. You said you would kill him and you must keep your word."

Martin gave himself up to the law. By this time a mob, friends of both
sides, had gathered around and Martin was hurried, half dragged, across
the road to the jail behind the courthouse.

In order to protect the prisoner from violence he was taken to the
Winchester, Kentucky, jail next day. But he had been there only six days
when a band of five men presented themselves to the jailer with an
order, apparently signed by the proper authorities, commanding Martin's
return to Rowan County. He pleaded with the jailer not to surrender him.
"It is only a plot to kill me," he cried.

That day Martin's wife had been to see him in his cell. She took him
some cornbread and a clean shirt and socks. Little did she dream when
she got on the train to return to Morehead that night that her husband
sat handcuffed in the baggage coach ahead. Around the prisoner stood his
five captors: Alvin Bowling, Edward and Milt Evans, a man named Hall,
and another by the name of Eastman.

When the train was within five miles of the county seat of Rowan, at a
village called Farmers, it was boarded by several masked men who rushed
into the baggage car and shot John Martin, helpless and handcuffed, to

"They've killed him!" Lucy Trumbo Martin screamed at the sound of the
first shot, though until that moment she had not known her husband was
on the train. "I knew they had killed John," she told her friends at the
time and often afterward.

When the train bearing John Martin's bullet-torn body reached Morehead
he was carried, still breathing, into the old Central Hotel where he
died that night. In the meantime his distracted wife had sent for their
children and her mother who was staying with the family on the farm on
Christy Creek. An old darky who had long lived at the county seat
mounted his half-blind mule and rode out along the lonely creek that
cold winter night to carry the sad tidings to the Martin household. He
also rode ahead of them on the journey back with the corpse of John
Martin later that same night.

"Hesh!" Granny Trumbo warned the children huddled in the bed of the
wagon as it rumbled along the creek bed road, "Hesh! no telling who's
hid in the bresh to kill us." The children sobbed fearfully. Ben, the
older of the two small boys, sat dry-eyed. His small hands sought those
of his father cold in death and still in irons. "Pa, they didn't give
you no chance," he murmured bitterly. "You were helpless as a trapped
deer. They didn't give you no chance."

It wasn't a cry of revenge but of heartbreak, one that the mother and
the other children would remember always. And Granny Trumbo, sitting
bravely erect on the board seat of the wagon beside her widowed
daughter, gripped the reins and urged the weary team onward along the
frozen road, keeping close behind the silent horseman ahead.

In March of the following year another of the Martin side, Stewart
Bumgartner, a deputy sheriff of Cook Humphrey, was shot from ambush as
he rode along the road some six miles from Morehead.

A month later Taylor Young, county attorney of Rowan, was shot in the
shoulder as he rode along another lonely road in the county. Though
Young heartily disclaimed any connection with either side, he was
accused by the Martins of being a well-wisher of the Tollivers. Again,
as in the Bumgartner case, no arrests were made. However, when Ed Pierce
was convicted some time later of highway robbery and jailed in
Montgomery County, he confessed to waylaying Taylor Young but put the
blame of the actual shooting on Ben Rayburn. Pierce said it was plotted
by Sheriff Humphrey who assured him and Rayburn of all the whiskey they
could drink and two dollars a day while they were watching for Young;
when they had killed him they were to receive two hundred and fifty

After that, one Sunday morning, Craig Tolliver, who was town marshal of
Morehead, accompanied by a half dozen men, went to the home of old Ben
Martin, father of John. Craig told Mrs. Martin that he had warrants for
the arrest of Cook Humphrey and Ben Rayburn. At first she said the two
were not there, that only her daughters, Sue, Annie, little Rena, and a
married daughter, Mrs. Richmond Tussey, were in the house. It was a
fact; her husband and her two sons, Will and Dave, whose lives had been
threatened, had gone to Kansas.

The Tollivers, however, were not to be deceived. They had seen Cook
Humphrey, carrying his gun, enter the Martin house the evening before.
The house, a two-story frame with the old part of logs stood at the foot
of a hill about thirty feet from the road. Tolliver's band, including
Mark Keeton, Jeff Bowling, Tom Allen Day, John and Boone Day, Mitch and
Jim Oxley, and Bob Messer, were well armed. They demanded that Humphrey
and Rayburn surrender, saying they had warrants for their arrest for the
attempted assassination of Taylor Young. The two men asked to see the
warrants and when the documents of arrest were not forthcoming they
flatly refused to surrender. Then Craig Tolliver stationed his crew in
the bushes all around the Martin house. Watching his chance he finally
slipped inside and up the narrow stairway. Humphrey spied him, rushed
forward and striking his gun discharged it in Craig's face. Craig fell
backward. Wiping the blood from forehead and cheeks he hurried out into
the yard.

Sue Martin dashed past him headed toward town for help. But no sooner
did she reach the county seat than she was arrested and put in jail.
Craig and his crew were still surrounding the Martin house, and finally
one of them called out that if Rayburn and Humphrey did not surrender
they would burn the place down. It was known that Tom Allen Day was one
of the best marksmen in the county, so Mrs. Martin, in an effort to help
Rayburn and Humphrey escape, ran toward the barn where Day was ambushed.
He had his gun uplifted and leveled at the fleeing men. Mrs. Martin
struck the gun upward and the shots went wild. But the rest of the
Tolliver crew poured lead toward the two men. Rayburn was slain but
Humphrey escaped. Knowing he still held on to his Winchester the
Tollivers feared to go into the brush after him.

The body of Rayburn lay all night where it fell. Friends feared to
approach it. The next day, however, they piled fence rails about the
corpse to keep hogs from destroying it.

At dusk that day the Tolliver crew set fire to the Martin house and
burned it to the ground. The women escaped, seeking shelter under a
tree. Mrs. Martin's married daughter, Mrs. Tussey, was carried out with
her young babe. Another of the Martin girls went to Morehead to see Sue,
and she too was arrested and put in jail.

The militia was called out, arriving on the following day. The Martin
girls were promptly released. Sue had revenge in her heart for the
insult and humiliation of false arrest.

Later while the Tollivers were barricaded in a hotel down near the
railroad tracks in Morehead a plump roast turkey was sent in for their
dinner. They wondered whose generosity had prompted the act. But on
sniffing the well-roasted fowl they began to suspect a trick. Upon
examination it was found that the turkey contained enough arsenic to
kill a dozen men. Sue Martin was suspected but nothing was done about
it. There was not sufficient evidence to warrant arrest.

No sooner had the militia been removed from Morehead than the Tollivers
set upon the Galt House where Cook Humphrey, Howard Logan, Mat Carey,
and others were staying. There wasn't a windowpane left in the place
when they finished. The doors were splintered to smithereens. In the
midst of the fusillade of bullets Cook Humphrey grabbed up a hymn book
from the organ in the musty parlor, held it over his heart, and thereby
saved his life. A bullet lodged in the thick leather cover of the book.

Things quieted down for some months and Craig Tolliver vowed he was
through with the trouble. "I'm a quiet, peaceable man," he went about
saying, "and the citizens ought to encourage my good behavior by
electing me police judge." But when he set out canvassing for votes he
carried a Winchester. The other candidates forthwith dropped out of the
race, leaving Craig the only one on the ticket.

When Boone Logan stepped up to the voting booth Craig was close enough
to hear what was said. The election officer told Boone who was running
and the latter expressed himself in no uncertain terms. He said he'd
rather vote for the worst man in the county than for Craig Tolliver.

Boone Logan was a well-educated, peaceable citizen and practiced law in

Not long after Craig Tolliver was elected police judge he contrived to
have two younger brothers of Boone Logan arrested on a charge of
kukluxing. Marshal Manning and twelve men repaired to the Logan home two
miles from Morehead. The father, Dr. Logan, prevailed upon his young
sons to surrender and Tolliver agreed that the boys would be taken to
town and given a fair trial. But they had walked scarcely ten feet from
the house when the Tolliver posse shot the boys to death and trampled
the bullet-torn faces into the earth and rode on to town.

The motive behind the murder of the innocent Logan boys was that Craig
Tolliver knew they would be chief witnesses for their father, who was
charged by Tolliver with having conspired to kill Judge Cole. Craig
decided that the best way out was to end the lives of Dr. Logan's sons.
No sooner had this been accomplished than Tolliver sent word to Boone
Logan to get out of the county.

Boone got out of the county. He went to Frankfort to seek aid and
counsel of the governor. But Governor Knott said that the state had done
all it could for the relief of the citizens of Rowan County. Logan then
turned to Hiram Pigman, who had had trouble with Craig Tolliver, and
together they solicited the support of Sheriff Hogg in securing the aid
of one hundred and fifty of the county's best citizens in bringing the
Tollivers to justice. As a means to that end Boone Logan went to
Cincinnati where he purchased a supply of Winchester rifles.

Those who didn't have a Winchester shouldered muskets, shotguns, and
other firearms. Warrants of arrest against the Tollivers on charges of
murder, arson, and various other crimes and misdemeanors were issued and
the date set for the arrest of the men was June 22, 1887.

Early that morning before daybreak more than one hundred armed men in
the posse were stationed in groups at seven different points outside of

Craig Tolliver was apprehensive so he walked out of his saloon--he
operated two at the time--and called his clan together at the American
Hotel. There they lay in wait and presently one of the crew saw a man
named Byron going down the street. They knew Byron to be a member of the
posse. They fired on him and he took to his heels with the Tollivers in
pursuit. One of their number, Bud Tolliver, fell with a bullet in his
knee. He crept off in the weeds for safety.

The Logan posse, in order to identify themselves and avoid their own
bullets, were fighting bareheaded. The Tollivers seeing this threw away
their hats which helped a couple of their number to escape. "The two
Mannings never did stop running until they got entirely out of the
state," so the story went. So quickly did the posse increase they seemed
fairly to spring out of the ground.

The Tollivers now retreated to the Central Hotel but they soon fled the
place when the posse pelted the old hostelry with bullets.

Jay Tolliver was killed a short distance away, on the hill beyond
Triplett Creek, and Craig was dropped by a bullet in the leg when he was
crossing the railroad. The tracks separated the Cottage Hotel and the
Central Hotel both of which were in sight of the Galt House, also known
as the Carey House, where Floyd Tolliver had been killed by John Martin
during the preceding December.

As marksmen the posse surpassed the Tollivers in this street battle for
only one of their number was wounded and that was Bud Madden. He was
shot by "Kate" Tolliver, a boy scarcely fourteen years old. Young
"Kate," or Cal, as he was sometimes called, was as fearless as a
mountain lion. Never once did he run for shelter during the shooting.
And when his uncle Craig lay dying of seventeen bullet wounds the boy
went to him, removed his watch and pocketbook, then crawled away under
the Central Hotel where he remained until darkness when he made his way
to the woods.

The battle was waged for more than two hours. The posse was determined
to clear the scene of Tollivers.

They found Bud unable to crawl out from his hiding place in the weeds.
He asked no mercy, nor was mercy granted. A gun was placed close to
Bud's head. His brains were blown out. Another of the Tolliver clan,
Hiram Cooper, thought to conceal himself in a wardrobe in Allie Young's
room in the Central Hotel. (Allie was the son of Taylor Young whose life
had been attempted.) But Cooper, like Bud, was shown no mercy. He was
dragged out into the middle of the floor to meet Bud's fate.

The bodies of the Tollivers were gathered up, Jay's from the hillside
beyond Triplett Creek, Bud's from the weeds where he had crawled to
hide, Craig's from where it lay near the railroad tracks, and that of
their confederate, Hiram Cooper, from beside the wardrobe wherein he had
tried to hide. The bullet-riddled bodies were washed and laid out in a
row in the musty sitting room of the old American House. This last
office for the dead was performed by members of the posse.

While the corpses still lay cold in the quiet sitting room, a short
distance away in the courthouse there was a spirited gathering of stern
and earnest men. Their leader, Boone Logan, whose young brothers had
been brutally slain by the Tollivers, arose and addressed the crowd.

When the last word of his grave speech had been uttered the men silently
drew up a resolution which read in part as follows:

"If anyone is arrested for this day's work we will reassemble and punish
to the death any man who offers the molestation."

Coffins for the four bodies that lay in shrouds in the old hotel were
brought from Lexington. The remains of the Tollivers, Craig, Jay, and
Bud, were hauled to Elliott County for burial, while that of Hiram
Cooper was removed by his friends to the family burying ground in the
outskirts of Rowan County.

The death of these four men brought the total number slain in the
Martin-Tolliver feud to twenty-one.

Tragedy stalked two of the crew who had been connected with the killing
of John Martin while he sat handcuffed in the baggage coach: Jeff
Bowling killed his father-in-law in Ohio and was hanged for the crime;
Alvin killed the town marshal of Mt. Sterling, not many miles from
Morehead, and was sent to the penitentiary for twenty-one years.

Although Craig Tolliver lived by the sword and died by it, there was no
record to be found that he ever actually killed a man. Rather he was
credited with plotting the deeds, molding the bullets for others to

The life of Allie Young, the son of the prosecuting attorney, Taylor
Young, whose life had been attempted, was saved because on the day of
the street battle he was in Mt. Sterling in an adjoining county.

One old woman who witnessed the open battle that day on Railroad Street
became raving insane. And Liza, Jay Tolliver's wife, fled in dismay
across the mountain never to return.

Marion, brother of Craig, had no hand whatever in the trouble. He lived
his days in peace within sight of the county seat of Rowan tending his
farm and looking after his household. If his kinfolk had heeded him
there never would have been a Rowan County war which put a blot upon the
community that took years to erase.

                             FAMILY HONOR

Looking down on a clear day from a bald on Dug Down Mountain you can see
the valley far below. The bald is sometimes called the sods--where the
trees can't grow because of high winds. This particular spot is called
Foley Sods after the Foleys who have lived here in the Dug Down
Mountains for generations. Looking closer from the high, green bald you
can see far below in the edge of a dilapidated orchard a lorn grave.
Overrun with ivy and thorns it is enclosed with a wire fence, sagging
and rusty and held together here and there with crooked sticks and
broken staves.

Ben Foley's grave it is, anyone whom you happen to meet along the way
will tell you, but your informant will say no more. If you have the time
and inclination to follow the footpath on around toward a cliff to the
right you may come upon old Jorde Foley sitting near on a log as if
keeping watch over the place. The old fellow will appraise you from head
to foot and either he will be glum, like the person you have passed on
the way, or he will invite you to rest a while. Then presently he falls
into easy conversation and before you are aware you have learned much
about Ben and Jorde Foley too.

It wasn't that Jorde had any objection to what Ben, his son, was doing,
but it was the things that happened when Ben brought home his bride from
Cartersville that caused Jorde to speak his mind. This day he went back
to the beginning of things.

"I've been makin' all my life right here in these Dug Down Mountains
alongside this clift," he said. "It's my land, my crop. And I've a right
to do with my corn whatever I'm a mind to. And Cynthie, my wife, many's
the time she taken turns with me breakin' up the mash, packin' the wood
to keep the fire under the still. We've set by waitin' for the run off.
And Ben, our boy, he learnt from watchin' us how to make good whiskey,
from the time he was a little codger. Sometimes Cynthie would keep an
eye out for the law. But we hated that part of it worser'n pizen. We
were in our rights and had no call to be treated like thieves in the
night. Pa made whiskey right here in these Dug Down Mountains same as
his'n before him, out of corn he raised on his own place and in them
days there wasn't ever the spyin' eyes of the law snoopin' around."
Jorde rolled his walking staff between his rough hands and looked away.
"Sometimes I'd change places with Cynthie whilst she tended the fire. We
made good whiskey," he said neither boastfully nor modestly. "We sold it
for an honest price. That's the way we learnt Ben to do. But, hi
crackies, what takes my hide and taller is when a son o' mine turns out
yaller. I never raised my boy for no chicanery." Old Jorde's voice
raised in indignation. However, when he spoke again there was a note of
tolerance even pity in his tone.

"Ben would never 'a' done it only for that Jezebel he married down to
Cartersville and brought home here to the mountains. Effie, like Delilah
that made mock of her man Samson, was the cause of it all. Ben just
nat'erly couldn't make whiskey fast enough to give that woman all her
cravin's and now you see where it got my poor boy. A man's a right,"
said the old fellow in deadly earnest, "to marry a girl he's growed up
with--stead of tryin' to get above his raisin'. See where it got my poor
boy," he repeated. The troubled eyes sought the neglected grave in the
scrubby orchard far below.

There was no marker, not even a rough stone from the mountain side at
head or foot like on the other Foley graves in the Foley burying ground
on the brow of the hill. Only the sagging fence enclosed Ben's resting
place. "It was hard to do," old Jorde said grimly, "but it had to be
so's no other Foley will follow Ben's course."

With that he slowly arose and led the way to a pile of soot-covered

"Now close here was where the thumpin' keg stood," he began to indicate
positions, "and yonder the still."

There was nothing but charred remnants of staves and rusty hoops left of
the barrel through which the copper worm had run, while the copper still
itself was reduced to a battered heap. The worm and the thumping keg and
all the essentials for making whiskey leaped into a living scene,
however, when Jorde Foley got to telling of the days when he and Cynthie
and young Ben, peaceable and contented, earned a meager living at the

"Set your still right about here," Jorde hovered over the remnants of
the stone furnace, "and you break your mash once in so often. A man's
got to know when it is working right. The weather has a heap to do with
it fermenting. Sometimes it takes longer than other times. No, you don't
stir it with a stick but a long wooden fork. I've whittled many a one."
He retrieved from the pile of stone what was left of the stirring fork.
"Have it long so you can retch far all around the barrel," he said,
measuring the fork against his own height. With unconcealed pride he
explained the various steps of making corn whiskey in his own primitive
way. He told how the thumping keg in which it was aged was first
carefully charred inside to add a tempting flavor, and how the barrel in
which the cornmeal and malt were placed was made of clean staves of oak
or chestnut, or whatever wood was at hand. The wood was cut green and
when the mash began to work the liquid caused the staves to swell and
thus make the barrel leak-proof.

Never once in his explanation did Jorde Foley say moonshine, or shine,
or mountain dew.

"Whiskey, pure corn whiskey," he repeated, "when it is treated right
won't harm no one. And when a body sees the first singlin' come
treaklin' out the worm, cooled by the cold water that this worm is
quiled in," he indicated the location of the barrel, "somehow there's a
heap of satisfaction in it. Seeing that clear whiskey, clear as a
mountain stream come treaklin' into the tin bucket or jug that is
settin' there to ketch it, it makes a man plum proud over his labors."

Jorde looked inward upon his thoughts. "Many a time me and Cynthie would
take a full bucket to a neighbor's when there was a frolic, set it in
the middle of the table with a gourd dipper in it, and let everyone help
hisself to a drink. Why, there was no harm in whiskey in my young day.
And us people up here didn't know or need no other medicine."

In the bat of an eye Jorde Foley explained how pure corn whiskey had
cured cases of croup, saved mothers in childbirth, cured children of
spasms and worms, and saved the life of many a man bitten by a
copperhead or suffering from sunstroke. "Once I saw Brock Pennington
stob Bill Tanner in the calf of the leg with a pitchfork. Bill he bled
like a stuck hog and we grabbed up a jug of whiskey and poured it on his
leg. Stopped the blood! No how," Jorde was off on another defense, "land
up here and in lots of places in these mountains is not fitten to farm
so we have allus made whiskey of it after exceptin' out enough for our
bread. Good, pure whiskey that never harmed no man that treated it
right, that's what we made. In Pa's day he sold it for fifty cents a
gallon. Us Foleys in my day sold it for a dollar a gallon and let the
other fellow pack it off and sell it for what he could get. Why, I had
knowin' of a man on Chester Creek in Fentress County over in Tennessee
that sold it for three dollars a gallon. But that is a plum outrage!"
Jorde spat vehemently halfway to the cliff.

"After Pa died, me and Mose Keeton got to makin' together. We halved the
corn and halved the work and halved the cash money and never no words
ever passed betwixt us. By the time Mose died my boy Ben taken his

Only once did a smile light the grim face. "One day Cynthie and me was
busy here and Ben's pet pig followed him up here when he brought us a
snack to eat. The pig snooted around and found the place where we had
dumped the leavin's of the mash after we had took off the brine. Well,
sir, that pig just nat'erly gorged itself and directly it was tipsy as
fiddlesticks. I never saw such antic was out of a critter in my life. It
reeled to and fro and squealed and grunted and went round and round
tryin' to ketch its own tail. Finally it rolled down the hill. Ben
packed it back up again and it reeled around, its feet tangled and it
rolled down again. Kept that up till it got sober. Its eyes rolled back
in its head, it sunk down in a grassy spot over yonder and slept till
dark. It follered at Ben's heels meek as a lamb when we went down the
hill that night. That pig was too sick to eat or even sniff a nubbin of
corn for two whole days, just laid and groaned. 'Now, Ben,' says Cynthie
to our boy, 'you see what comes of gettin' tipsy.' And Ben Foley learnt
a lesson off the pig and never did take a dram too much."

Again Jorde's eyes sought the neglected grave far off. He looped back to
the story of his son. "Everything was peaceable here, though we did miss
Cynthie powerful after she died. But me and Ben made on the best we
could. We had a living from our whiskey. Then come Effie! That woman
nat'erly tore up the whole place. She kept gougin' Ben for more cash
money." Jorde pointed a condemning finger toward a ravine. "There's a
half dozen washtubs rustin' away under there."

A part of a zinc tub protruded from the brush heap. "One day," Jorde
continued, "unbeknown to Ben's wife, Effie, I snuck off up here away
from that Jezebel though she had talked no end about me being too old to
climb the mountain. 'You'll get a stroke, Jorde,' she'd warn me. 'You
best sit here in the cool, or feed the chickens or the hogs.' Effie was
ever finding something for me to do if I offered a word about comin' up
here to see how Ben was getting on. That made me curious. So I snuck off
from the house and come up here one day." Jorde's eyes turned toward the
ground. "When I come up on Ben I couldn't believe my own eyes. My boy
had a fire goin' not under just one but a half dozen tubs! What's left
of them are over yonder." He jerked a thumb toward the brush covered
ravine. "My boy Ben was stirring around not with the wood fork like he
had been learnt, but with a shovel!" Jorde lifted scandalized eyes. "A
rusty shovel, at that! He was talking in a big way to his helper--a
strange man to me. I come to find out he was a friend of Effie's from

Jorde pondered a while. "Come to find out, to make a long story short,
Ben was cheatin' them that bought his whiskey, tellin' them it was a
year old when he knew in reason he'd just run it off maybe the night
before. Ben Foley was sellin' pizen!" Old Jorde Foley's voice trembled.
"That's all it was that he was makin'. Pizen that he forced to ferment
with stuff that Effie's friend, who used to work in the coal mines,
brought here. And Ben sellin' that pizen that burnt the stummick and the
brains out of men that drunk it. Hi gad!"--old Foley spat vehemently--"I
never raised my son to be no such thief! It was that Jezebel Effie that
led my boy to the sin of thievin'. She wanted more cash money than he
could earn honest with makin' good whiskey."

It was Ben's fear of prison, old Jorde explained bluntly, that caused
him to run from the law, and running he had stumbled and thereby stopped
a bullet.

"What the law didn't bust to pieces of them tubs and shovels and such, I
did," Jorde added with a note of satisfaction. For a moment he lapsed
into silence, then added gravely, "Ben just nat'erly disgraced us
Foleys." The father hung his head in shame. "Why, Cynthie would turn
over in her grave if she knew of him thievin' and runnin'--runnin' from
the law! It's such as that Jezebel with her carryin's on, temptin' men
to thievin' that's put an end to makin'--makin' good whiskey in these
Dug Down Mountains here in Georgia. Put an end to sellin' good pure
whiskey for an honest price like me and mine used to make."

                        3. PRODUCTS OF THE SOIL


The individualism of the mountaineer has not made of him a scientific
inventor, but this marked trait of character has developed his
self-reliance and resourcefulness. He may not know, or care to know, in
figures the degree of the angle at which the mountain slopes. Probably
he has never heard of the clinometer by which geological surveyors
arrive at such information. Yet the untrained mountain man seeing a
stream gushing down a steep escarpment knows how to divert it to his own
best use.

Sometimes he set his tub mill, or the wheel, at the most advantageous
point to grind his corn into meal. If, however, his house happened to be
near no stream he had a simpler method for grinding his corn, a way his
forbears learned from the Indian, or heard about through his Scotch
ancestors. He rounded two stones, about the size of the average dishpan,
with great patience. Bored a hole in the center of the top one, placed
the two in a hollowed log and patiently, laboriously poured corn, a few
grains at a time, into the opening. With the other hand he turned the
top stone by means of a limber branch attached to a rafter overhead, the
other end of which was thrust into a small hole near the rim of the top
stone. In this way he kept the top stone moving, slowly, steadily. The
Scotch called this simple handmill a quern. It was a laborious way of
grinding meal.

It has amazed men of the U. S. Geological Survey to find that the corn
patch of the mountaineer often slants at an angle of fifty degrees so
that it is impossible to plow. The mountaineer cultivates such a patch
entirely with a hoe. When the mountain side, crop and all, slides down
to the base he bears the ill luck with patience and fortitude and tries
to find a remedy. He hauls rocks to brace the earth and plants another
crop. He had no time to sit and bemoan his fate. Through such trials,
and because neighbors were so far removed, his self-reliance and
resourcefulness were of necessity developed. The mountain man learned
early to face alone the hazards of life in the forest; first of all was
defense of his home against wild beasts and the Indian. He knew the
danger to life and limb from fallen trees, treacherous quicksand,
swollen creeks, the peril of slipping mountain sides after heavy rains.
Of necessity he relied upon himself; he could not wait for a neighbor to
help pull the ox out of the ditch. He learned early to make his own
crude farm implements at his own anvil. In short, he had to be
jack-of-all-trades--blacksmith, tanner, barber, shoemaker, wagoner, and

Men of the Blue Ridge did not clear their land after the manner of the
German farmer in Pennsylvania, who uprooted his trees. Instead, it was
done by belting the tree. He notched a six-inch band around the trunk,
removed the bark which prevented the sap from going up and thus killed
the tree from lack of nourishment. A field of such trees he called a
deadening. The roots were left to rot and enrich the soil but the
hillsides were so steep that the fertility from wood soil soon washed
away and another deadening had to be made before another crop could be
planted. Though crops were scant, the forest itself was ample and
sometimes brought him rich returns if he managed right.

A timber cruiser would come into the community, prospecting for a lumber
company, and examine the standing timber. After he reported back to the
company, a lawyer was sent to sound out the landowners--to see if they
were willing to sell their surface rights. When the legal matters were
attended to, the lumber company sometimes bought as much as seventy
thousand acres of forest. Woodsmen were brought in to work along with
the mountain men. Portable sawmills were set up and busy hands--sawyers,
choppers--set to work leveling the giant trees.

The owners calculated it would take twenty-five years to cull out all
the large timber and by the time that job was finished there would be a
second growth ready to cut. With this in view, hardwood and rich walnut
were cut and used with utter extravagance and disregard for their great
worth; full-sized logs of the finest grade were used for building barns,
planks of black walnut found their way into porch floors, walnut posts
were used freely for fencing by the mountaineer himself.

So profuse was the supply up until a quarter century ago that no thought
was given to its possible disappearance through wasteful methods of
lumbering, frequent forest fires, and the woodsman's utter carelessness
and disregard for the future.

A timber cruiser in Knott County, Kentucky, once came upon an old woman
chopping firewood beside the door of her one-room cabin. Upon
examination he found it to be a fine species of walnut. After talking
with her he learned that she owned hundreds of acres of timber, much of
which was covered with walnut such as she was ruthlessly burning in the
fireplace. He spent days going over the acreage and offered the old
woman a fabulous price for the larger timber, at the same time assuring
her, through written agreement, protection of all her rights. But the
old creature, who lived alone, dismissed the timber cruiser with a wave
of her bony hand. "Begone!" she chirped, "I don't want to be scrouged by
your crew comin' in on my land choppin' down trees and settin' up them
racket-makin' contrapshuns under my very nose. No how such as that
skeers off the birds in the forest." Though the cruiser agreed that his
company would even be willing to keep a distance of three miles in all
directions from her little cabin, the old woman still refused, and when
he tried again in honeyed tones to persuade her she up with the ax and
chased him off the place.

The mountain man, however, often seized the opportunity to dispose of
his timber and set to work with a vim to get it to the nearest market,
though such was a mighty task. Having cut down the larger trees, he
rolled the logs down the mountain side toward the watercourse. Usually
the creeks were much too shallow to carry rafts of logs so he
constructed a splash dam at a suitable point between the high banks of
the stream. A splash dam consisted of two square cribs of logs filled
with great stones. Against these two crude piers he built a dam in the
middle of which he placed an enormous gate. He remembered how he had
made rabbit traps when he was a boy. So now, on a bigger scale, he made
a figure-four trap-trigger for his splash dam. On one side, the gate
which he built in the middle, pushed against two projecting logs in the
dam. A long slender pole like a telegraph pole held the gate in place.
This is the trigger pole. Thus dammed, the water soon formed a deep lake
into which strong-armed men threw the logs.

Gate and trigger are in readiness. The mountaineer has only to wait for
a tide, which is often not long in coming. Even overnight, even in a few
short hours, a stream has been known to swell from sudden rains or snow,
bringing the water with a rush down steep mountain sides and carrying
with it the logs that were left strewn on the slopes or near the bank.
Men work with feverish haste to roll the logs into the stream. The whole
is swept into the dam, the trigger is released at the right moment and
the rush of water with its freight of logs sweeps through the open gate
with a mighty roar, carrying its cargo for miles on down to the river.

Zealous workers have been known to splash out in this fashion as many as
thirteen thousand logs in one season.

Timber so floated down the Big Sandy River made at its mouth the largest
round timber market in the world and brought untold fortunes to
capitalists who ruthlessly cut down the virgin forests along its banks.

Here at the waterfront taverns a motley crowd of loggers and raftsmen,
woodsmen and timbermen, were wont to gather for nights of revelry. The
old taverns rang with as rollicking songs as ever enlivened a western
bar in gold-rush days. Here too woodsman and logger rubbed shoulders
betimes with Devil Anse Hatfield and Randall McCoy, for it was to the
mouth of Big Sandy, the village of Catlettsburg, the county seat of
Boyd, that the clansmen repaired to reinforce their ammunition for
carrying on their bloody feud.

And here, in the spring of the year, the calliope could be heard far
down the Ohio as the showboat steamed into view. Shouts of glee went up
from the throats of youngsters along the way as they rushed excitedly
for the river-bank to watch the approach of the flag-decked boat. And
when the _Cotton Blossom_ had docked and deckhands had made her fast to
her moorings with rope and chain, a gayly uniformed band--led by a drum
major in high-plumed hat and gold-braided coat--with sounding horns and
quickened drumbeat walked the gangplank, leaped nimbly to shore, and
paraded the narrow winding village street.

Old and young wept over the death of Uncle Tom and hissed viciously the
slave-whipping Legree. Woodsman or logger, who had imbibed too freely at
the waterfront taverns, sometimes arose and cursed angrily the
black-mustachioed villain. Whereupon the town marshal patted the
disturber on the shoulder (the officer always had passes to the showboat
for himself and family and friends), wheedled the giant mountaineer into
silence, and left him dozing in his seat.

When the curtain fell on the last act, woodsmen and raftsmen and their
newfound friends in the village returned to the riverfront tavern to
make a night of it.

By sunup the crew would be on its way back up to the head of Big Sandy
to make ready for another timber run.

                             WOMAN'S WORK

The woman of the mountains has always been as resourceful in her way as
the man. She made the sweetening for the family's use from a sugar tree
and as often used sorghum from cane for the same purposes, even pouring
the thick molasses into coffee if they were fortunate enough to have
coffee. She made her own dyes from barks and herbs. And though she may
have had a dozen children of her own she was ready and eager to help a
neighbor in time of sickness. Doctors were scarce, so she of necessity
turned midwife to help another through childbirth. She shared the tasks
of her husband in the field and home. She was as busy at butchering time
as the menfolk. Once the hog was killed and cleaned, she helped chop the
meat into sausage and helped to case it. She boiled the blood for
pudding and looked to the seasoning, with sage and pepper, of the head
cheese and liverwurst. Hers was the task of rendering the lard in the
great iron kettle near the dooryard. And once the meat was cut into
slabs she helped salt it down in the meat log. But only the man felt
capable of properly preparing and smoking the ham for the family's use.
She frugally set aside the cracklins, after rendering the lard, for use
in soap-making at the hopper.

At sorghum-making time mother and daughter worked as busily as father
and son. The men cut the cane and fed it to the mill, while the
womenfolk took turns tending the pans in which the syrup boiled,
skimming off the greenish foam and scum that gathered on the top. They
urged the young boys, who hung around on such occasions, to bring on
more wood to keep the fire going under the pans. The owner of the
portable sorghum mill sometimes took his pay for its use in sorghum, if
there was no money to be had. He was paid too for the use of his team in
hauling the mill to the cane patch of the neighbor who had engaged it,
and he himself sometimes tarried to help set it up. A small boy was
sometimes pressed into service to urge the patient mule on its
monotonous course around and around pulling the beam that turned the

Sorghum-making had its lighter side. The young folks especially found
fun in seeing a guileless fellow step into the skimming hole concealed
by cane stalks. The sport was complete when the bewildered fellow
struggled to free himself from the sticky mess. But the woman was quick
to help him out of his plight by providing a change of raiment and soap
and water and clean towels, "yonder in the kitchen-house." She knew what
to expect at sorghum-making time.

Each season of the year brought its communal activity: corn shucking in
the fall, that was ever followed by a frolic. Bean stringing when the
womenfolk pitched in to help each other out stringing beans with a long
darning needle on long strands of thread. These were hung up to dry and
supplied a tasty dish on cold winter days. There was also
apple-butter-making in the fall when long hours were spent in peeling
and preparing choicest apples which were boiled in the great copper
kettle and richly seasoned with sugar and spice. Apple-butter-making was
an all-day job in the boiling alone but the rich and tasty product is
considered well worth the effort and any mountain woman who cannot
display shelves laden with jars of apple-butter would be considered a
laggard indeed.

But the mountain woman's greatest pride and joy was
handiwork--quiltmaking, crocheting. Perhaps it is because these crafts
have always gone hand-in-hand with courtship and marriage.

At the first call of the robin in the spring, Aunt Emmie on Honey Camp
Run, in clean starched apron and calico frock, dragged her rocker to the
front stoop of her little house and there she sat for hours rocking
contentedly while her nimble fingers moved swiftly with crochet needle
and thread. "Aunt Emmie's crocheting lace for Lulie Bell's wedding
garments." Folks knew the signs. Hadn't Lulie Bell ridden muleback from
Old Nell Knob just as soon as winter broke to take the day with the old
woman. "Make mine prettier than Dessie's and Flossie's," she had said.
Or, "I want the seashell pattern for my pillowcases." Or, "I want you to
crochet me a pretty chair back." "I want a lamberkin all scalloped
deep"--another bride-to-be measured a half arm's length. "I want my
edging for the gown and petticoat to match." Passersby overheard the
talk of the young folk. "Wouldn't you favor the fan pattern?" Aunt Emmie
offered a suggestion now and then while the shiny needle darted in and
out of scallop and loop. Sometimes she dropped a word of advice to the
young, how to live a long and happy married life, how and when to plant,
what to take for this ailment and that. There were things that brought
bad luck, she warned, and some that brought good.

"If a bride plants cucumber seed the first day of May when the dew is
still on the ground, the vines will grow hardy and bear lots of
cucumbers and she will bring forth many babes, too," her words fell on
willing ears of the young bride-to-be. "If you sleep under a new quilt
that no one has ever slept under, what you dream that night will come
true." Many a young miss declared she had experienced the proof of the
saying. There was something else. "Mind, don't ever sew a ripped seam or
patch a garment that's on your back. There will be lies told on you sure
as you do." That could be proved in most any community in the Blue

Yards upon yards of lace Aunt Emmie crocheted, the Clover Leaf pattern,
the Sea Shell, Acorn, the Rose, and if a bride-to-be had no silver, the
lacemaker was content to take in exchange a pat of butter, eggs, or
well-cured ham. Her delight was in the work itself.

The thrifty woman of the mountains takes great pride in her quilts; not
only does she strive to excel her neighbor in the variety of patterns
but in the number as well. On a bright summer day she brings them out of
cupboard and presses, and hangs them on the picket fence to sun. She is
pleased when a passerby stops to admire, and especially so if it be a
young miss. The older woman recognizes the motive behind the question,
"What is this pattern?" "Is this easy to piece?" The older woman knows
the young miss has marrying in her head and goes to great lengths to
explain. "Now this is Compass and Nine Patch and it's easiest of any to
put together. This is Grandmother's Flower Garden--it's a lot of little
bitsy pieces, you see, and a heap of different colors and it's most
powerful tejous to put together. This is Double Wedding Ring, this Irish
Chain"--she names one after another--"this is Neck Tie, and this in the
fair blue and white is Dove in the Window."

The quiltmaker is even more pleased when the young miss comes to take
the day and she has the proud privilege of starting John's or Tom's
future wife on her very first quilt. It is an occasion of merriment when
the quilt is finally finished and taken out of the frames after many a
pleasant quilting bee. Then, at the urging of one of the older women,
two girls shake a cat on the new quilt. The one toward whom the cat
jumps will be married first, they believe. Some brides believe too that
by going to the oldest woman in the community to set up the quilt for
their marriage bed they will be insured long life and joy. There are
lovelorn maidens so eager to peer into the future they will even help a
neighbor on wash day. Two girls will wring a dripping quilt by twisting
it in rope fashion. The one toward whom the end curls up will be first
to rock the cradle.

                             4. TRADITION


Philomel Whiffet was dim of eye and sparse of beard. A little white
fringe framed his wrinkled face and numbered indeed were the hairs of
his foretop. Trudging up the snow-covered mountain, he caught sight of
the glowing stove through the window of Bethel church house whither he
was bound this winter night to conduct singing school. He chuckled to
himself, drawing the knitted muffler closer about his thin throat and
making fast the earflaps of his coonskin cap. "Yes, they're getting the
place het up before the womenfolk come. Mathias or Jonathan, one or the
other." The singing master had come to know the signs by the behavior of
the old heating stove--who rivaled, who courted, who might be on the
outs. "It's Jonathan that's making the fire tonight. I caught the shadow
of him against the wall when he threw in the stove wood. Jonathan's all
of a head taller than Mathias. Trying to get in favor with Drusilla
Osborn. It's a plum shame the way that girl taynts him and Mathias. At
meeting first with one, then the other. She's got the two young fellows
as mad as hornets at each other nigh half the time. No telling, Dru's
liable to shun them both when it comes to choosing a mate. Women are
strange creatures." The singing master talked to himself as he plodded

Many the year Philomel Whiffet traveled that selfsame road with the
selfsame aim, for the church house was the only place on Pigeon Creek
where folks could gather. The seat of learning too it was there in the
Tennessee mountains, so that old Whiffet, having journeyed hither and
yon to take up a subscription for singing school, must need get the
consent of school trustees and elders in order to hold forth in Bethel
church house. Honor-bound too, was he, to divide his fee of a dollar per
scholar with his benefactors.

"We're giving you the chance, brother Whiffet, to earn a living," one of
the elders murmured when the singing master that year shared with them
his meager earnings. But when Philomel ventured to suggest it might
liven the gathering somewhat if he brought along his dulcimer and
strummed the tune while scholars sang, both elders and trustees stood
aghast. Couldn't believe their ears. "Brother Whiffet!" gasped one of
the elders, "so long as we're in our right mind no music box of any
nature shall be brought into Bethel church house. We don't intend to
contrary the good Lord in any such way."

That settled it.

The memory of that session brought a smile to the old man's face.
"Elders and women have strange ways," he told himself as he walked on
through the snow, eyes fixed on the beacon light of the old heating
stove in the church house.

"Now I used to think that Mathias had got the best of Jonathan," his
thoughts returned to the present, "but there's no knowing if Drusilla is
aiming to set down her name Mistress Oneby or Mistress Witchcott. Women
are powerful tetcheous. Keep a man uncertain and troubled in his mind
with their everlasting whims."

No one knew that any better than did Philomel Whiffet. It made him
patient with the young fellows in their trials, for he had had a mighty
hard row to hoe in his own courting days. Hadn't Ambrose Creech and Herb
Masters aggravated him within an inch of his life before he finally
persuaded Clarissa that neither of the two was worth his salt, that only
he, Philomel Whiffet, the singing master, could bring her happiness in
wedded life. That had been long years ago.

Philomel had been a widower for ten years past and never once had he
cast eyes on another woman; that is to say, with the idea of marriage.
"There's no need for a man to put his mind on such as that without he
can better himself, and I never calculate to see Clarissa's equal, let
alone her betters. Nohow, singing school is good a-plenty to keep a body
company." That was Philomel Whiffet's notion and he stuck to it. It was
as though she, Clarissa, still bustled about the Whiffet cabin, for
Philomel, though he lived alone, kept the place as she had--spic and
span just as Clarissa had left it. There on the shelf were the cedar
piggins, scoured clean with white sand from the creek, one for spice,
one for rendering, one for sweeting. And there on the wall hung the salt
gourd. "It's convenient to the woman for cooking," he had said when
first they started housekeeping. How happy he had been in those days,
looking after Clarissa and the little Whiffets as they came along. Not
until they were all grown and married off and gone, and he and Clarissa
were alone once more, did he really come to realize how very happy their
household had been. He liked to look back on those times. "It's
singing-school night, Pa"--Clarissa had taken to calling him Pa; got it
from the children. "You best strike the tuning fork and sing a tune or
two before you start. Gets your throat limbered up and going smooth."
Philomel had come to wait for her urging. Then he would fumble in his
waistcoat pocket for the tuning fork and tapping it to chair rim or
bootheel, he'd hold it to his ear, pitch the tune, and sing a verse or
two of this ballad and of that. Then when he started forth on a winter's
night, "Mind your wristban's!" his wife would say, "and your spectacles!
Don't forget your spectacles! Your sight's not sharp as it once was. And
your tuning fork, Pa. Don't forget to put it in your pocket." It pleased
the old singing master in those days to have Clarissa feel that he was
dependent upon her. And now that she was gone, for ten long years, those
familiar words running through old Philomel Whiffet's thoughts were all
he had left to remind him of his needs when he started out to singing

Slowly he plodded on through the snow, his eyes raised now and again to
the light of the heating stove in the church house.

Arrived at the door he stomped the snow from his well-greased boots and
went in. Untying the flaps of the coonskin cap he moved across the
floor. "Good evening, boys," he greeted cheerily, unwinding now the
muffler from his throat.

"Good evening, sir!" the early birds, Jonathan and Ephraim Scaggs,
answered together. It wasn't Mathias Oneby, after all, whose shadow he
had seen against the wall. At once the singing master knew why Ephraim
Scaggs was there. His sister, Tizzie Scaggs, was head-over-heels in love
with Jonathan Witchcott. She was trying every scheme to get him away
from Drusilla Osborn. Yes, Tizzie had sent her brother Ephraim along
with Jonathan to make the fire so he could drop in a few words about
her; how apt she, Tizzie, was at many tasks, what a fine wife she'd make
for some worthy fellow. Philomel Whiffet knew the way of young folks.
And Drusilla knew the ways of Tizzie. She was really wary of her and
watchful, though Dru would never own it to Jonathan Witchcott.

Even though the snow was nearly knee-deep it didn't keep folks from
singing school. Already they were crowding in. So by the time old
Whiffet was ready to begin every bench was filled. Young men and old in
homespun and high boots, mothers and young girls in shawls and
fascinators, talking and laughing at a lively clip as they took their
places: sopranos in the front benches opposite the bass singers; behind
them, altos and tenors.

"I'm sorry to see that some of our high singers are not here this
evening." The old singing master from his place behind the stand
surveyed the gathering, squinting uncertainly by the light of the oil
lamp. High on the wall it hung without chimney, its battered tin
reflector dimmed by soot of many nights' accumulation. He picked up the
notebook from the little stand which served as pulpit for the preachers
on Sundays, and casually remarked, "We kinda look to the high singers to
help us through, to pitch the tune and carry it. Too bad"--he squinted
again toward the gathering--"that Drusilla Osborn is not here. Dru is a
extra fine singer. A fine note-singer is Dru. Takes after the Osborns.
Any of you heard if Osborns' folks have got sickness?"

A titter passed over the singing school and just then Tizzie Scaggs,
leering at Dru, piped out, "Why, yonder's Dru Osborn in the back seat!"

The tittering raised to a snicker and Philomel Whiffet, too
flabbergasted to call out Drusilla's name and send her to her own seat
with the sopranos where she belonged, turned quickly his back to the
school and fumbled in his pocket. He brought forth a piece of charred
wood, for chalk was a rarity on Pigeon Creek, and began to set down on
the rough log wall a measure of music. In shaped notes, for round notes
had not yet made their way into Philomel Whiffet's singing school.
Painstakingly he set down the symbols, some like little triangles,
others square, until he had completed a staff. Nor did he face the
school again until all the tittering had subsided. Then with the same
charred stick he drew a mark on the floor and called for sopranos, alto,
bass, and tenor to toe the mark.

Drusilla Osborn was first, then Lettie Burley, an alto, came next. Tom
Jameson, the tenor, and Felix Rideout, who couldn't be beat singing
bass, stood in a row careful-as-you-please to see that they kept a
straight line, toes to the mark, shoulders back, chests expanded. They
sang the scale through twice--forward and backward, bowed to the singing
master, then went back to their seats. It was a never-changing form to
which Philomel Whiffet clung as an example for the whole school to
follow should they be called to toe the mark. A fine way to show all how
a singer should rightly stand and rightly sing.

"Now, scholars," Whiffet brushed the black from his fingers, having
replaced the charred stick in his pocket, "lend attention!" Taking the
tuning fork from his waistcoat pocket, he looked thoughtfully at the
school. "Being as this singing school is drawing to a close, seems to me
we should review all we can this evening." He paused. "Now all that feel
the urge can take occasion to clear their throats before we start in."

Not one spurned the invitation, and when the raucous noise subsided
Philomel Whiffet tapped the tuning fork briskly on the edge of the
stand, put it to his ear, and listened as he gazed thoughtfully

"Do! Me! Sol! Do!" he sang in staccato notes, nodding the sparse gray
foretop jerkily with each note as bass, alto, tenor, soprano took up
their pitch. Thereupon he seized the pointer, a long switch kept
conveniently near in the corner, and indicated the first note of the

Scarcely had the pointer tapped a full measure before the school
realized they were singing by note an old familiar tune and with that
they burst forth with the words:

                 Oh! have you heard Geography sung?
                 For if you've not it's on my tongue;
                 First the capitals one by one,
                 United States, Washington.

They changed the meter only slightly as they boomed forth:

               Augusta, Maine, on the Kennebec River,
               Concord, New Hampshire, on the Merrimac.

Of course they knew it was the Geography Song from their McGuffey Reader
which the singing master had set to tune. To make sure they had not
forgotten the McGuffey piece he halted the singing and directed that
they speak over the piece together, which they did with a verve:

             Oh! have you heard Geography sung?
             For if you've not, it's on my tongue;
             About the earth in air that's hung.
             All covered with green, little islands.
             Oceans, gulfs, and bays, and seas;
             Channels and straits, sounds, if you please;
             Great archipelagoes, too, and all these
             Are covered with green, little islands.

Philomel Whiffet sometimes had his school do unexpected things that way.
And now once again they went on with the geography singing lesson,
putting in the names of places and rivers to the tune.

Far and wide traveled Philomel Whiffet's singing school, wafted by note
from freedom's shore to African wilds. They knew it all by heart. On and
on they sang, and Drusilla Osborn's voice led all the rest:

                     Bolivia capital Suc-re
                     Largest city in South America

                     Mexico is Mexico
                     Government Republican

Around the world and back again, nor did they stop until they again went
through all the States, finishing with a lusty:

                 New Hampshire's capital is for a fact
                 Concord on the Merrimac.

Silence came at last.

Taking from the stand the songbook, Philomel placed a hand behind him
and announced with quiet decorum, "Those who have brought their
notebooks will please open them up to page--" he faltered, fumbling the
leaves of his book. "Open to page--" still groping was Philomel Whiffet
and squinting at the faded pages. "Those who have not brought their
notebooks can look on with someone else." Trying to act unconcerned was
the singing master. "Turn to one--of our--old favorites," poor old
Whiffet murmured, still fumbling the pages of the book. "My eyes--are
dim"--he mumbled in confusion--"I--cannot see." Vainly he searched his
vest pockets, the pockets of his coat. "--I've left my specs at home,"
he blurted in desperation.

With that the tantalizing Drusilla Osborn, from her bench at the back of
the room, nudged the girl beside her and, pointing to the staff of music
left on the wall where Philomel had placed it,--Dru began to hum.
"You've pitched it too shaller," whispered the other girl, and quickly
Dru hummed a lower register until her companion caught the pitch; then
the two sang loud and shrill:

                    My eyes are dim, I cannot see,
                    My specs I left at home.

And before Philomel Whiffet knew what had happened, sopranos, altos, and
bass had taken up the tune. Even Jonathan Witchcott, for all he sat on
the very front bench where anybody could see with half an eye that the
singing master was plagued and shamefaced, let out his booming bass with
all his might and main. Hadn't Drusilla pitched the tune? What else was
the doting Jonathan to do? The two had been courting full six months,
just to spite Mathias Oneby if for no other reason. And Mathias, the
patient and meek fellow, sitting in the far corner of the very last
bench straight across from the adored Drusilla, sitting where anyone
could see that Dru was playing a prank, when he heard the mighty boom of
his rival, joined in with his high tenor:

                    My eyes are dim, I cannot see,
                    My specs I left at home.

Louder and stronger roared Jonathan's bass. And Mathias, not to be
excelled, raised his shrill notes higher still, sweeping the sopranos
along with him.

Bethel church house fairly trembled on its foundation. Poor old Philomel
Whiffet raised his hands in dismay: "I did not mean for you to sing!" he
cried, and again Drusilla took up his words:

                    I did not mean for you to sing

and louder swelled the chorus. All the while the singing master stood
trembling, shaking his white head hopelessly. "I did not mean for you to
sing," he pleaded, "I only meant my eyes were dim!"

His words merely spurred them on. On surged the voices, bass, soprano,
alto, tenor, in loud and mighty

                    I did not mean for you to sing,
                    I only meant my eyes were dim.

The singing master fumbled his woolly wristbands, thrust his hands deep
into pockets of coat and breeches, and peered searchingly about the
little stand where, it was plain to see, was nothing but the songbook
which he had dropped in his confusion. At last his trembling hand sought
the sparse foretop. There, bless you, rested the lost spectacles. He
yanked them to the bridge of his nose, and then, just as though he
didn't know all the time it was Drusilla Osborn behind the prank, he
turned his attention toward that pretty young miss.

"Drusilla"--you'd never suspect what he was up to--"we all favor your
voice in the ditty of My Son John. And you, Jonathan Witchcott, I don't
know of any other fellow that can better sing the part of the courting
man than you yourself. And I'm satisfied that no fairer maid was ever
wooed than Dru yonder. So lead off, lest the other fellow get the best
of you."

Almost before Jonathan was aware of it he was singing, with his eyes
turned yearningly upon Dru:

     My man John, what can the matter be,
     That I should love the lady fair and she should not love me?
     She will not be my bride, my joy nor my dear,
     And neither will she walk with me anywhere.

Then, lest a moment be lost, the singing master himself egged on the
swain by singing the part of the man John:

        Court her, dearest Master, you court her without fear,
        And you will win the lady in the space of half a year;
        And she will be your bride, your joy and your dear,
        And she will take a walk with you anywhere.

Encouraged by the smiling school, Jonathan Witchcott took up the song,
turning yearningly to Dru who now smiled coyly, head to one side, while
he entreated:

       Oh, Madam, I will give to you a little greyhound,
       And every hair upon its back shall cost a thousand pound,
       If you will be my bride, my joy and my dear,
       And you will take a walk with me anywhere.

Scarcely had the last note left his lips when Drusilla, now that all
eyes were turned upon her, sang coquettishly:

      Oh, Sir, I won't accept of you a little greyhound,
      Though every hair upon its back did cost a thousand pound,
      I will not be your bride, your joy nor your dear,
      And neither will I walk with you anywhere.

With added fervor Jonathan offered more:

         Oh, Madam, I will give you a fine ivory comb,
         To fasten up your silver locks when I am not at home.

That too Dru spurned, but all the same she was watching
nervously--indeed Dru was watching anxiously--Tizzie Scaggs, lest she
take up Jonathan's offer, which is another girl's right in the play-game

Quickly Jonathan Witchcott, knowing all this, sang pleadingly:

          Oh, Madam, I will give to you the keys of my heart,
          To lock it up forever that we never more may part,
          If you will be my bride, my joy and my dear.

Whereupon Drusilla, her eyes sparkling, her rosy lips parted temptingly,

         Oh, Sir, I will accept of you the keys of your heart;
         I'll lock it up forever and we never more will part,
         And I will be your bride, your joy and your dear,
         And I will take a walk with you anywhere.

When her last note ended Dru turned demurely toward Jonathan, whereupon
that happy swain leaped to his feet and, extending a hand toward the
singing master, sang:

     My man, Philomel Whiffet, here's fifty pounds, for thee,
     I'd never have won this lady fair if it hadn't been for thee.

With that the whole singing school cheered and laughed.

Drusilla Osborn was so excited she almost twisted her kerchief into
shreds, for she and all the rest knew that by consenting to sing the
play-game song through she and Jonathan had thereby plighted their
troth. Either could have dropped out on the very second verse if they
had been so inclined. But there, they had sung it through to the end. If
she hadn't Tizzie Scaggs would have leaped at the chance. So now, the
singing master arose and was first to wish them well.

"A life of joy to the Witchcotts!" He bowed profoundly.

Even Mathias Oneby wished his rival happiness. The girls tittered. Older
folks nodded approval.

Then away they all went into the starlit night, trooping homeward
through the snow, Jonathan and Drusilla leading the way.

Philomel Whiffet lingered a moment in the doorway of Bethel church house
chuckling to himself, "Dru's got her just deserts. She had no right to
taynt the two young fellows. I'm pleased I caught her in the snare and
made her choose betwixt them." He wrapped the muffler about his throat
and, drawing on his mittens, the singing master stepped out into the
snow, the coonskin cap drawn lower over his bespectacled eyes. "I'm
proud I caught Dru for Jonathan," he repeated. "She's too peert nowhow
for that shy Mathias Oneby. Women are strange critters when it comes to
courting. And her prankin' like she did over me misplacing my specs."

He went steadily on his way, mittened hands thrust deep into coat
pockets, spectacles firmly on the bridge of his nose. "She had no call
to make mock of me and my specs like she did," Philomel mumbled to
himself as he trudged along.

As for the courting play-game song and the way it turned out for Dru and
Jonathan, that story too traveled far and wide, so that Philomel Whiffet
never lacked for a singing school as long as he lived. That is the
reason, old folks will tell you, you'll come upon so many good singers
to this day along Pigeon Creek.

                         RIDDLES AND FORTUNES

Telling riddles is no lost art in the Blue Ridge Country and their text
and answers are much the same whether you turn to the Carolinas,
Tennessee, or Virginia. There is little difference among those who tell
them. It is usually the older women who cling to the tradition which
goes hand-in-hand with trying fortunes.

Aunt Lindie Reffitt in Laurel Cove would rather have a bevy of young
folks around her anytime than to sit with women of her own age. "It's
more satisfaction to let a body's knowing fall on fresh ears." That was
her talk.

Aunt Lindie knew no end of riddles and ways to try fortunes. And as soon
as girl or boy either turned their thoughts to love they took occasion
to drop in at Aunt Lindie's.

What would be the color of their true love's eyes, the hair? Or, "Tell
me, Aunt Lindie"--a lovelorn one begged--"will I have a mate at all or
die unwed?" And the old woman, sipping a cup of sassafras tea made tasty
with spice-wood sticks, had an answer ready:

"On the first day of May, just as soon as the sun comes up, go to an old
well that's not been used for many a year. With a piece of looking glass
cast a shadow into the well. The face that appears reflected there will
be that of your true love. The one you are to wed."

One of the Spivey girls had tried her fortune so. And no one could make
her believe other than that the handsome black-mustached man from
Collins Gap was the one whom she had seen reflected in the well. They
married. But poor Minnie Tinsley. That same May she tried her fortune at
the well. But never a face appeared. Instead there seemed to float to
the surface of the water a piece of wood in the shape of a coffin.
Minnie died before the summer was over. For a while others were afraid
to go near the well. But, as Aunt Lindie reminded, "There are other
ways. In the springtime the first dove you hear cooing to its mate, sit
down, slip off your shoe, and there you will find in the heel a hair. It
will be the color of your husband's locks."

There were other ways too, even for the very, very young. To try this
fortune it had to be a very mild winter when flowers came early, for
this was a fortune for St. Valentine's Day. "The lad sets out early on
his quest," Aunt Lindie explained. "He knows to look in a place where
there is rabbit bread on the ground--where the frost spews up and swells
the ground. Close by there will be a clump of stones, and if he looks
carefully there he will find snuggled under the stones a little
Jack-in-the-pulpit. He plucks the flower and leaves it at the door of
his sweetheart. Though all the time she has listened inside for his
coming, she pretends not to have heard until he scampers away and
hides--but not too far away lest he fail to hear her singing softly as
she gathers up his token of love:

         A little wee man in the wood he stood,
         His cap was so green and also his hood.

         By my step rock he left me a love token sweet,
         From my own dear true love, far, far down the creek.

         Some call his name Valentine, St. Valentine good,
         This little wee man in the wood where he stood.

When Aunt Lindie finished singing the ballad she never failed to add,
"That is the best way I know to try a body's fortune. My own Christopher
Reffitt was scarce six when he left such a love token on my step rock
and I a little tyke of five."

Many a night they told riddles at Aunt Lindie's until she herself could
not think of another one. Some of the young folks came from Rough Creek
away off on Little River and some from Bullhead Mountain and the Binner
girls from Collins Gap. If several of the girls took a notion to stay
all night, Aunt Lindie Reffitt made a pallet on the floor of extra
quilts and many a time she brought out the ironing board, placed it
between two chairs for a bed for the youngsters, Josie Binner, her hair
so curly you couldn't tell which end was growing in her head, always
wanted to outdo everyone else. Some said Josie was briggaty because she
had been off to settlements like Lufty and Monaville.

No sooner had they gathered around the fireplace and Aunt Lindie had
pointed out the first one to tell a riddle, than Josie popped right up
to give the answer. It didn't take Aunt Lindie a second to put her in
her place. "Josie, the way we always told riddles in my day was not for
one to blab out the answer, but to let the one who gives it out to a
certain one, wait until that one answers, or tries to. Your turn will
come. Be patient."

Josie Binner slumped back in her chair.

"Now tell your riddle over again, Nellie." Aunt Lindie pointed to the
Morley girl who piped in a thin voice:

                   As I went over heaple steeple
                   There I met a heap o' people;
                   Some was nick and some was nack,
                   Some was speckled on the back.

"Pooh!" scoffed Tobe Blanton to whom Nellie had turned, "that's easy as
falling off a log. A man went over a bridge and saw a hornet's nest.
Some were speckled and they flew out and stung him."

"Being as Tobe guessed right," Aunt Lindie was careful that the game was
carried on properly, "he's a right to give out the next riddle."

Tobe was ready.

                A man without eyes saw plums on a tree.
                He neither took plums nor left plums.
                Pray tell me how that could be?

The cross-eyed lad to whom Tobe had turned shook his head. "Well, then,
Josie Binner, I can see you're itchin' to speak out. What's the answer?"

Josie minded her words carefully. "A one-eyed man saw plums. He ate one
and left one."

It was the right answer so Josie had her turn at giving out the next

                  Betty behind and Betty before.
                  Betty all around and Betty no more.

No one could guess the answer. Some declared it didn't make a bit of
sense and Josie, pleased as could be, challenged, "Give up?"

"Give up!" they all chorused.

"Well," Josie felt ever so important, "a man who was about to be hanged
had a dog named Betty. It scampered all around him as he walked to the
gallows and then dashed off and no one saw where it went. The hangman
told him if he could make up a riddle that no one could riddle they
would set him free. That was the riddle!"

"Ah, shucks! Is that all?" Ben Harvey scoffed and mumbled under his
breath, "I'll bet Josie made that up herself."

"It's your turn." Aunt Lindie had sharp ears and young folks had to be
mannerly in her house. If not she had her own way of teaching them a
lesson. She took Ben unawares. He had to think quickly and blurted out
the first riddle that came to his mind:

                Black upon black, and brown upon brown,
                Four legs up and six legs down.

Even half-witted Tom Cartmel to whom Ben happened to be looking gave
back the answer:

"A darky riding a horse and he had a kittle turned up-side-down on his
head. The kittle had four legs!"

Not even Aunt Lindie could keep a straight face, but to spare Ben's
feelings she gave out a verse that she felt certain no one could say
after her. And try as they would no one could, not even when she said it

                            One a-tuory
                            Dickie davy
                            Ockie bonie
                            Ten a-navy.
                            Dickie manie
                            Murkum tine
                            Humble, bumble

                            One a-two
                            A zorie, zinn
                            Allie bow
                            Crock a-bowl.

No one could say it, try as they would.

"Then answer me this," Aunt Lindie said. "Does it spell Tennessee or is
it just an old comical way of counting?"

Again no one could answer and Aunt Lindie said smilingly if she told all
she knew they would know as much as she. Though perhaps she wasn't aware
of it, Aunt Lindie was keeping alive their interest in telling riddles.
For young folks went about in their neighborhood trying to find answers
to her riddles.

She now pointed to Katie Ford, and that young miss started right off,

"As I was going to St. Ives," but everyone protested, so Katie had to
try another that everyone didn't know.

               As I was going over London bridge
               I heard a lad give a call;
               His tongue was flesh, his mouth was horn,
               And such a lad was never born.

"A rooster!" shouted cross-eyed Steve Morley, who vowed Katie looked
straight at him. And in the bat of an eye he said:

              As I went over London bridge
              I met my sister Ann;
              I pulled off her head and sucked her blood
              And let her body stand.

"A bottle of wine," two in the corner spoke at once, which was against
the rules, but both thought Steve was looking in their direction.

"Tell another," Aunt Lindie settled the matter.

"As I went over London bridge I met a man," said Steve. "If I was to
tell his name I'd be to blame. I have told his name five times over. Who
was it?"

No one spoke up for they all knew the answers to Steve's simple,
threadbare riddles. "The answer is I," he said, running a hand over his
bristling pompadour.

And lest he assert his rights by starting on another, Aunt Lindie, which
was her right, gave a jingle and the answer to it too.

     As I walked out in my garden of lilies
     There I saw endible, crindible, cronable kernt
     Ofttimes pestered my eatable, peatable, partable present,
     And I called for my man William, the second of quillan,
     To bring me a quill of anatilus feather
     That I might conquer the endible, crindible, cronable kernt.

She looked about the puzzled faces. "I'll not plague your minds to find
the answer. I'll give it to you. As the woman walked out in her garden
she saw a rabbit eating her cabbage and she called for her second
husband to bring her a shotgun that she might kill the rabbit."

The old teller of riddles pointed out that there was good in their
telling. "People have been known to be scared out of doing meanness just
by a riddle. Now what would you think this one would be?

            Riddle to my riddle to my right,
            You can't guess where I laid last Friday night;
            The wind did blow, my heart did ache
            To see what a hole that fox did make.

Whoever knows can answer." She looked at Josie Binner. "You have the
best remembrance of anyone I know. Don't tell me you can't give the

"I never heard it before," Josie had to admit, twisting her kerchief and
looking down at the floor.

"Speak out!" urged Aunt Lindie. But no one did so she riddled the
riddle. "A wicked man once planned to kill his sweetheart. He went first
to dig her grave and then meant to throw her into it. She got an inkling
of his intent, watched from the branches of a tree, then accused him
with that riddle. He skipped the country and so that riddle saved a
young girl's life. And while we're on trees, here's another:

                Horn eat a horn in a white oak tree.
                Guess this riddle and you may hang me.

For the fun of it they all pretended not to know the answer so she gave
it. "You're just pranking," she admonished playfully, "but nohow--a man
named Horn eat a calf's horn as he sat up in a white oak tree. But I'll
give you one now to take along with you. It's a Bible riddle, now listen

              God made Adam out of dust,
              But thought it best to make me first;
              So I was made before the man,
              To answer God's most holy plan.

              My body he did make complete,
              But without legs or hands or feet;
              My ways and actions did control,
              And I was made without a soul.

              A living being I became;
              'Twas Adam that gave me my name;
              Then from his presence I withdrew;
              No more of Adam ever knew.

              I did my Maker's laws obey;
              From them I never went astray;
              Thousands of miles I run, I fear,
              But seldom on the earth appear.

              But God in me did something see,
              And put a living soul in me.
              A soul of me my God did claim,
              And took from me that soul again.

              But when from me the soul was fled,
              I was the same as when first made.
              And without hands, or feet, or soul,
              I travel now from pole to pole.

              I labor hard, both day and night,
              To fallen man I give great light;
              Thousands of people, both young and old,
              Will by my death great light behold.

              No fear of death doth trouble me,
              For happiness I cannot see;
              To Heaven I shall never go,
              Nor to the grave, or hell below.

              And now, my friends, these lines you read,
              And scan the Scriptures with all speed;
              And if my name you don't find there,
              I'll think it strange, I must declare."

That was the way Aunt Lindie and other older mountain women had of
sending young folk to read the Word.

There was rarely a gathering for telling riddles and trying simple
fortunes, especially during the winter, that did not end with a taffy
pull. That too afforded the means for courting couples to pair off and
pursue their romance.

The iron pot filled with sorghum was swung over the hearth fire to
bubble and boil. In due time the mother of the household dropped some of
it with a spoon into a dipper of cold water. If it hardened just right
she knew the sorghum had boiled long enough. Then it was poured into
buttered plates to cool. Often to add an extra flavor the taffy was
sprinkled with walnut kernels. The task of picking out the kernels with
Granny's knitting needles usually fell to the younger folks. There on
the hearth was a round hole worn into the stone where countless walnuts
had been cracked year after year.

When the taffy had cooled so that it could be lifted up in the hands the
fun of pulling it began. The girls buttered or greased their hands so
that it would not stick, and the boys, of their choice, did likewise.
Pulling taffy to see who could get theirs the whitest was an occasion
for greatest merriment. "Mine's the whitest," you'd hear a young,
tittering miss call out. Then followed comparisons, friendly argument.
And when at last the taffy was pulled into white ropes it was again
coiled on buttered plates in fancy designs of hearts and links and left
to harden until it could be broken into pieces with quick tap of knife
or spoon.

Once more the courting couples paired off together and helped themselves
politely when the plate was passed.

Riddles and fortunes, taffy pulling and harmless kissing games, like
Clap In and Clap Out, Post Office, and I Lost My Kerchief Yesterday,
made for the young folk of the mountains a most happy and (to them of
yesterday) a most hilarious occasion.

And when a neighbor like Aunt Binie Warwick gave out the word there'd be
a frolic and dance at her house, nothing but sickness or death could
keep the young people away. Such an occasion started off with a
play-game song in order to get everyone in a gay mood. The hostess
herself led off in the singing:

                  Come gather east, come gather west,
                  Come round with Yankee thunder;
                  Break down the power of Mexico
                  And tread the tyrants under.

Everyone knew how to play it. The boys stood on one side of the room,
the girls on the other, and when the old woman piped out the very first
notes the boys started for the girls, each with an eye on the one of his
choice. Sometimes two or more of the young fellows were of the same
mind, which added to the fun and friendly rivalry. The one who first
caught the right hand of the girl had her for his partner in the dance
that would follow. Immediately each couple stepped aside and waited
until the others had found a partner. If there was a question about it,
the oldest woman present, who by her years was the recognized matchmaker
of the community, decided the point.

"Who'll do the calling?" asked the hostess, Aunt Binie.

Everyone knew there was not a better caller anywhere than Uncle Mose,
who was just as apt at fiddling. So Uncle Mose proudly took his place in
the corner, chair tilted back against the wall. Fiddle to chin, he
called out: "Choose your partners!"

With a quick eye he singled out one couple. "Lizzie, you've got a bound
to stand to the right of the gent!"

Quickly Lizzie, tittering and blushing, stepped to the other side of

"And you, Prudie," Uncle Mose waved a commanding hand, "get on the other
side of John. You fellows from Fryin' Pan best learn the proper ways
here and now."

A wave of laughter swept over the gathering and Uncle Mose, sweeping the
bow across the strings, called: "Salute your partner!"

There was bowing and shuffling of feet and, as the tempo of the fiddle
increased, heels clicked against the bare floor and the caller's voice
rang out above music and laughter:

                      Salute your corner lady,
                      Salute your partners, all:
                      Swing your corner lady
                      And promenade the hall.

They danced to the fiddle music of O Suzanna and Life on the Ocean Wave,
and Uncle Mose had calls to suit any tune:

                        Swing old Adam
                        Swing Miss Eve,
                        Then swing your partner
                        As you leave.

Now and then a breathless girl would drop out and rest a moment leaning
against the wall. And just for fun an oldster like Old Buck Rawlins, who
didn't even have a partner, caught up one boot toe and hopped off to a
corner moaning:

                   Sudie, Sudie, my foot is sore,
                   A-dancing on your puncheon floor.

Sometimes a young miss limped off to a chair. "Making out like someone
stepped on her toe," Aunt Binie whispered behind her hand, for she knew
all the signs of young folks, "but she's just not wanting to dance with
Big Foot Jeff Pickett." The next moment Dan Spotswood had pulled himself
loose from his cross-eyed partner and made his way to the side of his
true love who had limped to the corner.

Nor was Uncle Mose unmindful of what was going on. The caller must have
a quick eye, know who is courting, who is on the outs, who craves to be
again in the arms of so and so. Quick as a flash he shouted, "Which
shall it be Butterfly Swing or Captain Jinks?"

"Captain Jinks," cried Dan Spotswood jovially. For Dan knew the ways of
the mountains. He didn't want any hard feelings with anyone. This dance
would give all an opportunity to mingle and exchange partners. Even
though Big Foot had tried his best to break up the match between him and
Nellie, Dan meant that that fellow shouldn't have the satisfaction of
knowing his jealousy. So he urged the couples into the circle. Dan,
however, did see to it that he had Nellie's hand as they circled halfway
around the crowded room before following the familiar calls of the
play-party game as they sang the words along with the lively notes of
the fiddle. They were words that their grandparents had sung in the days
of the Civil War, with some latter-day changes:

                  Captain Jinks came home last night.
                  Pass your partner to the right;
                  Swing your neighbor so polite,
                  For that's the style in the army.

                  All join hands and circle left,
                  Circle left, circle left,
                  All join hands and circle left,
                  For that's the style in the army.

They saluted partners, they stepped and circled, and sashayed, they
fairly galloped around the room, much to the disapproval of old Aunt
Binie. "I don't favor no such antic ways. They're steppin' too lively."
Her protest was heeded.

The fiddler stopped short. Folks were respectful in that day and time.

"Mose," the hostess called out to the fiddler when he had rested a
little while, "please to strike up the tune Pop Goes the Weasel."

No sooner said than done. The notes of the fiddle rang out and Uncle
Mose himself led off in the singing:

                    A penny for a spool of thread,
                    A penny for a needle,

while old and young joined in the singing as each lad stepped gallantly
to the side of the girl of his choice and went through the steps of the
Virginia Reel.

Though all knew every step and danced with grace and ease, they perhaps
did not know that the dance was that of Sir Roger de Coverley; that it
was one of a large number of English country dances, so called, not
because they were danced in the country, but because their English
ancestors corrupted the French word _contredanse_, which had to do with
the position the dancers assume. Of one thing they could be sure,
however, they owed it to their elders that this charming dance had

With what charming ease even old Aunt Binie with an aged neighbor went
through the lovely figures of the Virginia Reel, harking back to the
days of powdered wigs, buckled shoes, satin breeches and puffed skirts,
as the head lady and foot gentleman skipped forward to meet each other
in the center of the set. How gracefully she bowed to him and he to her
with hand upon his chest, as they returned to their places!

Then the head lady and foot gentleman skipped forward, made one
revolution, holding right hands.

With dignity and charm they went through the entire dance while those on
the side lines continued to sing with the fiddle:

                    A penny for a spool of thread,
                    A penny for a needle.
                    That's the way the money goes.
                    Pop! goes the weasel.

Each time on the word "Pop!" the fiddler briskly plucked a string.

There was an interlude of fiddle music without words, then followed
another verse while the dancers stepped the tune:

                 All around the American flag,
                 All around the eagle,
                 The monkey kissed the parson's wife,
                 Pop! goes the weasel.

This was followed by a lively tune, Vauxhall Dance, with a lusty call
from the fiddler: "Circle eight!"

Whereupon all joined hands, circled to the left and to place.

             Head couple out to the right and circle four,
             With all your might
             Around that couple take a peek!

At this Dan Spotswood peeked at smiling Nellie, almost forgetting to
follow the next figure in his excitement.

              Back to the center and swing when you meet,
              Around that couple peek once more.

              Back to the center and swing all four,
              Circle four and cross right o'er.

The dance was moving toward the end.

"Balance all. Allemande left and promenade," the fiddler's voice raised

There was repetition of calls and figures and a final booming from the
indefatigable caller: "Meet your partners and promenade home."

Then the fiddler struck up Cackling Hen and a Breakdown so that the
nimblest of the dancers might show out alone and so the frolic and dance


  I. (a). Head lady and foot gentleman skip forward to meet each other in
          center of the set. They bow and return to places.
     (b). Head gentleman and foot lady repeat (a).

 II. (a). The head lady and foot gentleman skip forward and make one
          revolution, holding right hands.
     (b). The head gentleman and foot lady repeat (a).
     (c). The head lady and foot gentleman skip forward and make one
          revolution, holding left hands.
     (d). Head gentleman and foot lady repeat (c).

III. (a). Head lady and foot gentleman skip forward and around each other
          back to back.
     (b). Head lady and foot gentleman repeat (a).

 IV. The head couple meet in center, lock right arms, and make one and
     one-half revolutions. They go down the set swinging each one once
     around with left arms locked, the gentleman swinging the ladies, the
     lady swinging the gentlemen. They meet each other swinging
     a round with right arms locked, between each turn down the line. They
     swing thus down the set.

  V. Couples join hands, forming a bridge under which the head couple
     skips to head of set. They separate, skipping down the outside of the
     lines and take their new places at the foot of the set. The original
     second couple is now the head couple. The dance is repeated from the
     beginning until each couple has been the head couple.]

                          THE INFARE WEDDING

Even when the dulcimer, that primitive three-stringed instrument, could
not be had, mountain folk in the raggeds of Old Virginia were not at a
loss for music with which to make merry at the infare wedding. They
stepped the tune to the singing of a ballad, nor did they tire though
the infare wedding lasted all of three days and nights. It began right
after the wedding ceremony itself had been spoken--at the bride's home,
you may be sure.

How happy the young couple were as they stood before the elder, the
groom with his waiter at his side, and the bride with her waiter beside
her. Careful they were too that they stood the way the floor logs were
running. Thoughtless couples who had stood contrary to the cracks in the
floor had been known to be followed by ill luck.

When the elder had spoken the word which made them one, the bride with
her waiter hurried out to another room, if there was such, if not she
climbed the wall ladder to the loft and there in the low-roofed bedroom
she changed her wedding frock for her infare dress--the second day
dress. In early times it was of linsey-woolsey, woven by her own hands,
and dyed with homemade dyes, while her wedding frock had been of snowy
white linsey-woolsey.

And what a feast _her_ folks had prepared for the occasion. Cakes and
pies, stewed pumpkin that had been dried in rings before the fireplace,
venison, and wild honey.

While the bride was changing to her infare dress, older hands quickly
took down the bedsteads, tied up the flock ticks and shuck ticks in
coverlids and quilts, shoved them back into the corners so as to make
room for the frolic and dancing.

If the bride's granny lived it was her privilege to lead off in the
singing, which she did in a high querulous voice while the young folks,
the boys on one side, the girls on the other, faced each other and to
soft handclapping and lightly tapping toe sang:

             There lived an old Lord by the Northern sea,
             Bowee down,
             There lived an old Lord by the Northern sea,
             And he had daughters one, two three;
             I'll be true to my love,
             If my love will be true to me.

All the while the bride and groom sat primly side-by-side near the
hearth and looked on.

The rest stepped the tune to the singing of the Twa Sisters, reenacting
the story of the old ballad as it moved along.

It gave everyone an opportunity to swing and step.

After that the bride's father stepped to the middle of the room and
urged even the bride to join in. In the meantime the young folks had
taken the opportunity to tease the bride, while the young men went
further by bussing her cheek. A kiss of the modest, proper sort was not
out of order; every groom knew and expected that. Even a most jealous
fellow knew to conceal his displeasure, for it would only add to further
pranking on the part of the rest if he protested.

Presently two of the young lads came in bearing a pole. They caught the
eye of the groom who knew full well the meaning of the pole. Quickly he
tapped his pocket till the silver jingled, nodded assent to the unspoken
query. They should have silver to buy a special treat for all the
menfolks; forthwith the polebearers withdrew, knowing the groom would
keep his word.

And now the father of the bride egged the groom and his wife to step out
and join in singing and dancing the next song, which the father started
in a rollicking, husky voice:

                 Charlie's neat, and Charlie's sweet,
                 And Charlie he's a dandy.

It was a dignified song and one of the few in which the woman advanced
first toward the man in the dance. The lads already being formed in line
at one side, the girls one at a time advanced as all sang, took a
partner by the hand, swung him once; then stepping, in time with the
song, to the next the lad repeated the simple step until she had gone
down the line. The second girl followed as soon as the first girl had
swung the first lad, and so each in turn participated, skipping finally
on the outside of the opposite line, making a complete circle of the
dancers, and resuming her first position.

It did not concern them that they were singing and stepping an old
Jacobean song that had been written in jest of a Stuart King, Charles

At the invitation of the bride's mother the dancing ceased for a time so
that all might partake of the feast she had spent days preparing. Even
in this there was the spirit of friendly rivalry. The bride's mother
sought to outdo the groom's parent in preparing a feast for the
gathering; the next day, according to their age-old custom, the
celebration of the infare would continue at the home of his folks.

When all had eaten their fill again the bride's granny carried out her
part of the tradition. She hobbled in with a rived oak broom. This she
placed in the center of the floor with the brush toward the door.
Everyone knew that was the sign for ending the frolic at the bride's
home. Also they knew it was the last chance for a shy young swain to
declare himself to his true love as they sang the ancient ballad, which
granny would start, and did its bidding. Usually not one of the unwed
would evade this custom. For, if _she_ sang and stepped with _him_, it
meant betrothal. So they stepped and sang lustily:

             Here comes the poor old chimney sweeper,
             He has but one daughter and cannot keep her,
             Now she has resolved to marry,
             Go choose the one and do not tarry.

             Now you have one of your own choosing,
             Be in a hurry, no time for losing;
             Join your right hands, this broom step over,
             And kiss the lips of your true lover.

So ended the infare wedding at the bride's home.

The next day all went to the home of the groom's parents and repeated
the feasting and dancing, and on the third day the celebration continued
at the home of the young couple.

In those days mountain people shared each other's work as well as their
play. Willing hands had already helped the young groom raise his house
of logs on a house seat given by his parents, and along the same creek.

It was the way civilization moved. The son settled on the creek where
his father, like his before him, had settled, only moving farther up
toward its source as his father had done when he had wed.

                         5. RELIGIOUS CUSTOMS


To the outsider far removed, or even to people in the nearby lowlands,
mountain people may seem stoic. A mountain woman whose husband is being
tried for his life may sit like a figure of stone not for lack of
feeling, but because she'd rather die than let the other side know her
anguish. A little boy who loses his father will steal off to cliff or
wood and suffer in silence. No one shall see or know his grief. "He's
got a-bound to act like a man, now." The burden of the family is upon
his young shoulders.

Mountain folk love oratory. Men, especially, will travel miles to a
speaking--which may be a political gathering or one for the purpose of
discussing road building.

To all outward appearances they seem unmoved, yet they drink in with
deep emotion all that is said. Both men and women are eager to go to
meeting. Meeting to them means a religious gathering. Here they listen
with rapt attention to the lesser eloquence of the mountain preacher.
But at meeting, unlike at speaking, they give vent to their emotions,
especially if the occasion be that of funeralizing the dead.

Much has been written upon this custom, but the question still prevails,
"Why do mountain people hold a funeral so long after burial?"

The reason is this. Long ago, before good roads were even dreamed of in
the wilderness, when death came, burial of necessity followed
immediately. But often long weeks, even months, elapsed before the word
reached relatives and friends. There were few newspapers in those days
and often as not there were those who could neither read nor write. For
the same reason there was little, if any, exchange of letters.

So the custom of funeralizing the dead long after burial grew from a
necessity. The funeralizing of a departed kinsman or friend was
published from the pulpit. The bereaved family set a day, months or even
a year in advance, for the purpose of having the preacher eulogize their
beloved dead. "Come the third Sunday in May next summer," a mountain
preacher could be heard in mid winter publishing the occasion. "Brother
Tom's funeral will be held here at Christy Creek church house."

The word passed. One told the other and when the appointed Sunday rolled
around the following May, friends and kin came from far and near,
bringing their basket dinner, for no one family could have prepared for
the throng. Together, when they had eaten their fill, they gathered
about the grave house to weep and mourn and sing over "Brother Tom,"
dead and gone this long time.

The grave house was a crude structure of rough planks supported by four
short posts, erected at the time of the burial to shelter the dead from
rain and snow and scorching wind.

Many a one, having warning of approaching death, named the preacher he
wished to preach his funeral, even naming the text and selecting the
hymns to be sung.

As the service moved along after the singing of a doleful hymn, the
sobbing and wailing increased. The preacher eulogized the departed,
praising his many good deeds while on earth, and urged his hearers on to
added hysteria with, "Sing Brother Tom's favorite hymn, Oh, Brother,
Will You Meet Me!"

Sobs changed to wailing as old and young joined in the doleful dirge:

                    Oh, brother, will you meet me,
                    Meet me, meet me?
                    Oh, brother, will you meet me
                    On Canaan's far-off shore.

It was a family song; so not until each member had been exhorted to meet
on Canaan's shore did the hymn end--each verse followed of course with
the answer:

                      Oh, yes, we will meet you
                      On Canaan's far-off shore.

By this time the mourners were greatly stirred up, whereupon the
preacher in a trembling, tearful voice averred, "When I hear this
promising hymn it moves deep the spirit in me, it makes my heart glad.
Why, my good friends, I could shout! I just nearly see Brother Tom over
yonder a-beckoning to me and to you. He ain't on this here old troubled
world no more and he won't be. Will Brother Tom be here when the peach
tree is in full blowth in the spring?"

"No!" wailed the flock.

"Will Brother Tom be here when the leaves begin to drap in the falling
weather?" again he wailed.


"Will Brother Tom be up thar? Up thar?"--the swift arm of the preacher
shot upward--"when Gabriel blows his trump?"

"Eh, Lord, Brother Tom will be up thar!" shouted an old woman.

"Amen!" boomed from the throat of everyone.

As it often happened, Tom's widow had long since re-wed, but neither she
nor her second mate were in the least dismayed. They wept and wailed
with fervor, "He'll be thar! He'll be thar!"

"Yes," boomed the preacher once more, "Brother Tom will be thar when
Gabriel blows his trump!"

Then abruptly in a very calm voice, not at all like that in which he had
shouted, the preacher lined the hymn:

                 Arise, my soul, and spread thy wings,
                 A better portion trace.

Having intoned the two lines the flock took up the doleful dirge.

So they went on until the hymns were finished.

After a general handshaking and repeated farewells and the avowed hope
of meeting again come the second Sunday in May next year, the
funeralizing ended.

                             OLD CHRISTMAS

Though in some isolated sections of the Blue Ridge, say in parts of the
Unakas, the Cumberlands, the Dug Down Mountains of Georgia, there are
people who may never have heard of the Gregorian or Julian calendar, yet
in keeping Old Christmas as they do on January 6th, they cling
unwittingly to the Julian calendar of 46 B.C., introduced in this
country in the earliest years. To them December 25th is New Christmas,
according to the Gregorian calendar adopted in 1752.

They celebrate the two occasions in a very different way. The old with
prayer and carol-singing, the new with gaiety and feasting.

To these people there are twelve days of Christmas beginning with
December 25th and ending with January 6th. In some parts of these
southern mountain regions, if their forbears were of Pennsylvania German
stock, they call Old Christmas Little Christmas as the Indians do. But
such instances are rare rather than commonplace.

Throughout the twelve days of Christmas there are frolic and fireside
play-games and feasting, for which every family makes abundant
preparation. There is even an ancient English accumulative song called
Twelve Days of Christmas which is sung during the celebrations, in which
the true love brings a different gift for each day of the twelve. The
young folks of the community go from home to home, bursting in with a
cheery "Christmas gift!" Those who have been taken unaware, though it
happens the same way each year, forgetting, in the pleasant excitement
of the occasion, to cry the greeting first, must pay a forfeit of
something good to eat--cake, homemade taffy, popcorn, apples, nuts.

After the feast the father of the household passes the wassail cup,
which is sweet cider drunk from a gourd dipper. Each in turn drinks to
the health of the master of the house and his family.

Throughout the glad season some of the young bloods are inclined to take
their Christmas with rounds of shooting into the quiet night. Some get
gloriously drunk on hard cider and climbing high on the mountain side
shout and shoot to their hearts' content.

However, when Old Christmas arrives, even the most boisterous young
striplings assume a quiet, prayerful calm. The children's
play-pretties--the poppet, a make-believe corn-shuck doll--the banjo,
and fiddle are put aside. In the corner of the room is placed a pine
tree. It stands unadorned with tinsel or toy. On the night of January
6th, just before midnight, the family gathers about the hearth. Granny
leads in singing the ancient Cherry Tree Carol, sometimes called Joseph
and Mary, which celebrates January 6th as the day of our Lord's birth.
With great solemnity Granny takes the handmade taper from the
candlestick on the mantel-shelf, places it in the hands of the oldest
man child, to whom the father now passes a lighted pine stick. With it
the child lights the taper. The father lifts high his young son who
places the lighted taper on the highest branch of the pine tree where a
holder has been placed to receive it. This is the only adornment upon
the tree and represents a light of life and hope--"like a star of hope
that guided the Wise Men to the manger long ago," mountain folk say.

In the waiting silence comes the low mooing of the cows and the whinny
of nags, and looking outside the cabin door the mountaineer sees his cow
brutes and nags kneeling in the snow under the starlit sky. "It is the
sign that this is for truth our Lord's birth night," Granny whispers

Then led by the father of the household, carrying his oldest man child
upon his shoulder, the womenfolk following behind, they go down to the
creek side. Kneeling, the father brushes aside the snow among the
elders, and there bursting through the icebound earth appears a green
shoot bearing a white blossom.

"It is the sign that this is indeed our Lord's birth night, the sign
that January 6th is the real Christmas," old folk of the Blue Ridge bear


     He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and
     took a towel, and girded himself.

     After that he poureth water into a bason, and began to
     wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel
     wherewith he was girded.

"It is writ in the Good Book," said Brother Jonathan solemnly, "in the
thirteen chapter of St. John, the fourth and the fifth verses."

With hands meekly clasped in front of him Brother Jonathan stood--not
behind a pulpit--but beside a small table. Nor did he hold the Book.
That too lay on the table beside the water bucket, where he had placed
it after taking his text.

It could be in Pleasant Valley Church in Magoffin County, or in Old Tar
Kiln Church in Carter County; it could be in Bethel Church high up in
the Unakas, or Antioch Church in Cowee, Nantahala, Dry Fork, or New Hope
Chapel in Tusquitee, in Bald or Great Smoky. Anywhere, everywhere that
an Association of Regular Primitive Baptists hold forth, and they are
numerous throughout the farflung scope of the mountains of the Blue

"He laid aside his garments ... and after that he poureth water into a
bason, and began to wash the feet of the disciples...." Again Brother
Jonathan repeated the words.

Slowly, deliberately he went over much that had gone before. This being
the third Sunday of August and the day for Foot-washing in Lacy Valley
Church where other brethren of the Burning Spring Association had
already been preaching since sunup. One after the other had spelled each
other, taking text after text. And now Brother Jonathan--this being his
home church--had taken the stand to give out the text and preach upon
that precept of the Regular Primitive Baptists of washing feet. It was
the home preacher's sacred privilege.

Old folks dozed, babies fretted, young folks twisted and squirmed in the
straight-backed benches. A parable he told, a story of salvation,
conviction, damnation. But always he came back to the thirteenth chapter
of St. John. He spoke again of that part of the communion service which
had preceded: the partaking of the unleavened bread, which two elders
had passed to the worthy seated in two rows facing each other at the
front of the little church; the men in the two benches on the right, the
womenfolk in the two benches facing each other on the left. Among these,
who had already examined their own conscience to make sure of their
worthiness, had passed an elder with a tumbler of blackberry juice. He
walked close behind the elder who bore the plate of unleavened bread.
The first said to each worthy member, "Remember this represents the
broken body of our Lord who died on this cross for our sins." The second
intoned in a deep voice, "This represents the blood of our Lord who shed
his blood for our sins." All the while old and young throughout the
church house had sung that well-known hymn of the Regular Primitive

                  When Jesus Christ was here below,
                  He taught His people what to do;

                  And if we would His precepts keep,
                  We must descend to washing feet.

That part of the service being ended, Brother Jonathan exhorted the
flock to make ready for foot-washing.

The men in their benches removed shoes and socks. The women on the other
side of the church, facing each other in their two benches, removed
shoes and stockings. A sister arose, girthed herself with a towel, knelt
at a sister's feet with a tin washpan filled with water from the creek,
and meekly washed the other's feet. Having dried them with an end of the
long towel, she now handed it to the other who performed a like service
for her. This act of humility was repeated by each of the worthy. All
the while there was hymn-singing.

The menfolk who participated removed their coats and hung them beside
their hats on wall pegs.

"It is all Bible," the devout declare. "He laid aside His garments. We
take off our coats."

Brother Jonathan and the other elders are last to wash each other's

And when the service is ended and the participants have again put on
their shoes, they raise their voices in a hymn they all know well:

                 I love Thy Kingdom, Lord,
                 The House of Thine abode,
                 The church our blessed Redeemer saved
                 With His own precious blood.

The tin washpans were emptied frequently out the door and refilled from
the bucket on the table, for many were they, both women and men, of the
Regular Primitive Baptist faith who felt worthy to wash feet.

At the invitation everyone arose and those who felt so minded went
forward to take the hand of preacher, elder, moderator, sister, and
brother, in fellowship. An aged sister here, another there, clapped bony
hands high over head, shouting, "Praise the Lord!" and "Bless His
precious name!"

Again all was quiet. Brother Jonathan announced that there would be
foot-washing at another church in the Association on the fourth Sunday
of the month and slowly, almost reluctantly, they went their way.

                               NEW LIGHT

                      AFTER REFUSING MEDICAL AID

The death of 48-year-old Robert Cordle, who refused medical aid after
being bitten by a rattlesnake during church services, brought 1,500
curious persons today to a funeral home to see his body.

While the throngs passed the bier of the Doran resident, the Richlands
council passed an ordinance outlawing the use of snakes in religious
services and sent officers to the New Light church to destroy the
reptiles there.

Commonwealth's Attorney John B. Gillespie, who estimated the visitors at
the funeral home totaled 1,500, said after an investigation that no
arrests would be made. He explained that the state of Virginia has no
law, similar to that in Kentucky, forbidding the use of snakes in church

J. W. Grizzel of Bradshaw, itinerant pastor who preached at the services
Thursday night when Cordle was bitten, was questioned by Gillespie.

The Commonwealth's attorney quoted Grizzel as saying:

"I was dancing with the snake held above my head. Brother Cordle
approached me and took the snake from my hands. I told him not to touch
it unless he was ready."

After a moment, the rattler struck Cordle in the arm, Gillespie said
Grizzle told him. Cordle threw the snake into the lap of George Hicks,
15, and then was taken to the home of a friend and later to his own

                                        --The Ashland Daily Independent

                             MEDICAL CARE

Kinsmen of snake-bitten Leitha Ann Rowan permitted her examination by a
physician today, but barred actual treatment and claimed she was
recovering rapidly in justification of their sect's belief that faith
counteracts venom.

The six-year-old child was brought to Sheriff W. I. Daughtrey's office
today by relatives, after having been missing for three days while her
mother, Mrs. Albert Rowan, sought to avoid treatment for the girl.

Dr. H. W. Clements did not support relatives' claims that Leitha Ann was
almost fully recovered but said she had made some progress in overcoming
the effects of a Copperhead Moccasin's bite sustained eight days ago in
religious rites at her farm home near here.

He said her condition remained serious and directed that she be brought
to his office for another examination Monday.

Meanwhile the child's father, a mild-mannered tenant farmer, and
preacher-farmer W. T. Lipahm, tall leader of the snake-handling folk,
remained in jail on charges of assault with intent to murder. Sheriff
Daughtrey said they would be allowed freedom under $3,000 bonds when the
child is pronounced out of danger.

                                                      --Atlanta Journal

                     MAN SUFFERS SNAKE BITE DURING
                            RELIGIOUS RITES

A man listed by chief of police Ralph Tuggle as Raymond Hayes of Harlan
county was in a serious condition today from the bite of a copperhead
snake suffered yesterday during religious exercises in a vacant

Hayes and three other persons, including a woman, were under bond Chief
Tuggle said, pending a hearing Friday on charges of violating a Kentucky
statute prohibiting the use of snakes in religious ceremonies.

Tuggle said the four first appeared on the courthouse square and started
to hold services from the bandstand but that he dispersed them. The
chief said they then secured a vacant storeroom which was quickly
crowded and before police could break up the gathering Hayes had been
bitten by the copperhead.

                                          --Barbourville, Ky., Advocate


County Attorney Dennis Wooton listed Jim Cochran, 39, unemployed
mechanic, today as the second member of an eastern Kentucky
snake-handling religious sect to die within four days as the result of
bites suffered during church services.

Bitten on the right hand Sunday morning Cochran, married and father of
several children, died 18 hours later at his home at nearby Duane.

Mrs. Clark Napier, 40, mother of seven children, died Thursday night at
Hyden, coal-mining community in adjacent Leslie county, and County-Judge
Pro-Tem Boone Begley said she had been bitten at services.

Wooton said Jimmy Stidham, Lawsie Smith and Albert Collins were fined
$50. each after Cochran's death on charges of violating the 1940
anti-snake-handling law. Unable to pay, they were jailed, he said.

Elige Bowling, a Holiness church preacher, is under bond pending grand
jury action on a murder charge in the death of Mrs. Napier. Wooton said
Perry county officials would be guided on further prosecution in the
Cochran case by disposition of the Leslie county case.

                                                   --Corbin, Ky., Times

Finding themselves in the throes of the law, members of the
snake-handling sect at times turned to drinking poison in testing their
faith. There was no legislation to prevent it, the leaders craftily
observed. However, in some southern mountain states such a measure has
been advocated.

At times, nevertheless, even in cases of death from snakebite during
religious service, county officials refused to prosecute, saying the
matter was up to the state itself to dispose of.

                            6. SUPERSTITION

                            BIG SANDY RIVER

There once prevailed a superstition among timbermen in the Big Sandy
country which dated back to the Indian.

The mountain men knew and loved their own Big Sandy River. They rode
their rafts fearlessly, leaping daringly from log to log to make fast a
dog chain, even jumping from one slippery, water-soaked raft to another
to capture with spike pole or grappling hook a log that had broken
loose. They had not the slightest fear when a raft buckled or broke away
from the rest and was swept by swift current to midstream. There were
quick and ready hands to the task. Loggers of the Big Sandy kept a cool
head and worked with swift decisive movements. But, once their rafts
reached the mouth of Big Sandy, there were some in the crew who could
neither be persuaded nor bullied to ride the raft on through to the
Ohio. Strong-muscled men have been known to quit their post, leap into
the turbulent water before the raft swept forward into the forbidding
Ohio. They remembered the warning of witch women, "Don't ride the raft
into the Big Waters! Leap off!" So the superstitious often leaped,
taking his life in his hands and often losing it.

                              WATER WITCH

If anyone wanted to dig a well in Pizen Gulch he wouldn't think of doing
it without first sending for Noah Buckley, the water witch. He lived at
the head of Tumbling Creek. Noah wore a belt of rattlesnake skin to keep
off rheumatism. "That belt's got power," Noah boasted. And young boys in
the neighborhood admitted it. More than one who had eaten too many green
apples and lay groveling under the tree, drawn in a knot with pain,
screamed in his misery for Noah. If Noah was within hearing he went on a
run, fast as his long legs could carry him. And the young sufferer
reaching out a hand touched the rattlesnake belt and quicker than you
could bat an eye his griping pains left and the next thing he was up
playing around.

However, it was his power to find water that was Noah Buckley's pride.
He took a twig from a peach tree, held a prong in each hand, and with
head bent low he stumbled about here and there mumbling:

                   Water, water, if you be there,
                   Bend this twig and show me where.

If the twig bent low to the earth you could count on it that was the
spot where the well should be dug. To mark the spot Noah stuck the twig
at once into the earth. Mischievous boys sometimes slipped around,
pulled up the peach branch and threw it away. Again there would be a
doubting Thomas who sought to test the water witch's power by stealing
away the peach branch and dropping in its place a pebble. But Noah was
not to be defeated. He forthwith cut another branch, repeated the
ceremony, and located the exact spot again. Whereupon neighbor menfolk
pitched in and dug the well. Not all in one day, of course. It took
several days but their labors were always rewarded with clear, cold
water at last.

A well once dug where Noah directed never went dry. That was his boast
as long as he lived.

However, it was not so much his power to find water that strengthened
the faith of people in the water witch. It was what happened on Dog
Slaughter Creek. The Mosleys, a poor family, had squatted on a miserable
place there. One day the baby of the lot toddled off without being
missed by the other nine children of the flock. When Jake Mosley and his
wife Norie came in from the tobacco patch they began to search
frantically for the babe, screaming and crying as they dashed this way
and that. They looked under the house, in the well, in the barn. They
even went to neighbors' pig lots; the Mosleys had none of their own.
"I've heard of a sow or a boar pig too eating up the carcass of a
child," a neighbor said. "Maybe the babe's roamed off into Burdick's
pasture and the stallion has tromped her underfoot," Jake opined. With
lighted pine sticks to guide their steps they searched the pasture.
There was no trace even of a scrap of the child's dress anywhere to be
seen on ground or fence.

At last someone said, "Could be a water witch might have knowing to find
a lost child!" And the frantic parents moaned, "Could be. Send for the
water witch."

It was after midnight that neighbors came bringing the water diviner.

"Give me a garmint of the lost child," Noah spoke with authority, "a
garmint that the little one has wore that's not been washed."

The mother tearfully produced a bedraggled garment.

The water witch took it in his hand, sniffed it, turned it wrongside
out, sniffed it again. "Now have you got a lock of the little one's
hair?" He looked at Norie, moaning on the shuck tick bed, then at Jake.
They stared at each other. At last Norie raised up on her elbow. They
did have a lock of the babe's hair. "Mind the time she nigh strangled to
death with croup"--the mother fixed weary eyes on the father of her ten
children--"and we cut off a lock of her hair and put it in the clock?"

In one bound Jake Mosley crossed the floor and reached the clock on the
mantel. Sure enough there was the little lock of hair wrapped around
with a thread. Without a word Jake handed it to the water witch.

Noah eyed it in silence. "I'll see what can be done," he promised at
last, "but, Jake, you and Norie and the children stay here. And you,
neighbors, stay here too. I'll be bound to go alone."

With a flaming pine stick in one hand and the child's dress and lock of
hair in the other, he set out.

Before morning broke, the water witch came carrying the lost child.

They hovered about him, the parents kissed and hugged their babe close
and everyone was asking questions at the same time. "How did it happen?"
"Where did you find the little one?"

"I come upon a rock ledge," said Noah with a great air of mystery, "and
then I fell upon my knees. I'd cut me a peach branch down at the edge of
the pasture. I gripped the lost child's garmint and the lock of her hair
on one hand with a prong of the peach branch clutched tight in fists
this way," he extended clenched hands to show the awed friends and
neighbors. "I'd already put out the pine torch for daylight was coming.
It took quite a time before I could feel the little garmint twitching in
my hand. Then the peach branch begun to bear down to the ground. First
thing I know something like a breath of wind pulled that little garmint
toward the edge of the rock cliff. My friends, I knowed I was on the
right track. I dropped flat on my belly and retched a hand under the
cliff. I touched the little one's bare foot! Then with both hands I
dragged her out. This child"--he lifted a pious countenance--"could
a-been devoured by wild varmints--a catamount or wolf. There's plenty of
such in these woods. But the water witch got there ahead of the

The mother began to sob and wail, "Bless the good old water witch!" and
the joyful father gave the diviner the only greenback he had and said he
was only sorry he didn't have a hundred to give him.

After that more than one sought out the water witch. Even offered him
silver to teach them his powers.

"It's not good to tell all you know, then others would know as much as
you do," said Noah Buckley of Pizen Gulch, who knew that to keep his
powers a water witch has to keep secrets too.

                         MARRYING ON HORSEBACK

Millie Eckers, with her arms around his waist, rode behind Robert Burns
toward the county seat one spring morning to get married. But before
they got there along came Joe Fultz, a justice of the peace, to whom
they told their intent. Joe said the middle of the road on horseback was
as good a place as any for a pair to be spliced, so then and there he
had them join right hands. When they were pronounced man and wife Robert
handed Joe a frayed greenback in exchange for the signed certificate of
marriage. Joe Eckers always carried a supply of blank documents in his
saddlebags to meet any emergency that might arise within his bailiwick.
The justice of the peace pocketed his fee, wished Mister and Mistress
Burns a long and happy married life, and rode away, and Robert turned
his mare's nose back toward Little Goose Creek from whence they had

Some said, soon as they heard about Millie and Robert being married on
horseback right in the middle of the road, that no good would come of
it. As for the preacher he said right out that while the justice of the
peace was within his rights, he had observed in his long ministry that
couples so wed were sure to meet with misfortune--married on horseback
and without the blessing of an Apostle of the Book.

Scarcely had Millie and Robert settled down to housekeeping than things
began to go wrong.

One morning when the dew was still on the grass Millie went out to milk.
"Bossy had roamed away off ferninst the thicket," she told Robert, "and
ginst I got there to where she was usin' I scratched the calf of my leg
on a briar."

Robert eyed her swollen limb. "Seein' your meat black like it is and the
risin' in your calf so angry, I'm certain you've got dew pizen."

Sure enough she had. Millie lay for days and when the rising came to a
head in a place or two, Robert lanced it with the sharp blade of his

Some weeks later old Doc Robbins who chanced by wondered how Millie had
escaped death from blood poison from the knife blade, until the young
husband told casually how when he was a little set along child he had
seen an old doctor dip the blade of a penknife in a boiling kettle of
water and lance a carbuncle on another's neck. He had done the same for

No sooner was she up and about than something else happened.

Millie and Robert had just the one cow but soon they had none. Even so
Millie said things might have been worse. "It could have been Robert
that was taken." And he said, bearing their loss stoically, "What is to
be will be, if it comes in the night."

It was Millie who first noticed something was wrong with Bossy. It was
right after she had found her grazing in the chestnut grove. All the
young growth had been cut out and the branches of the trees formed a
solid shade so that coming out of the sunlight into the grove Millie
blinked and groped in the darkness with hands out before her, feeling
her way and calling, "Sook, Bossy! Sook! Sook!" Millie all but stumbled
over the cow down on her all fours. She coaxed and patted for a long
time before Bossy finally got to her feet and waddled slowly out of the
shaded grove into the sunlit meadow.

That evening Robert did the milking. But before he began he stroked
Bossy's nose and bent close. "I've caught the stench of her breath!" he
cried. "Sniff for yourself, Millie!"

Millie did. "Smells worser'n a dung pile," she gasped, hand to stomach.

Quick as a flash Robert put the tin pail under Bossy's bag and began to
milk with both hands.

There was scarcely a pint in the bucket until Robert gaped at Millie.
"Look! It don't foam!" His eyes widened with apprehension. He took a
silver coin from his pocket, dropped it into the pail and waited. In a
few moments he fished it out. "Black as coal!" gasped Robert. "Our cow's
got milk sick!"

Bossy slumped to the ground. By sundown the cow was stark dead.

Before dark Robert himself grew deathly ill.

They remembered that at noon time he had spread a piece of cornbread
with Bossy's butter. He had drunk a cup of her milk.

Millie lost no moment. She mixed mustard in a cup of hot water and
Robert downed it almost at a gulp.

"He begun to puke and purge until I thought his gizzard would sure come
up next," Millie told it afterward. "All that live-long night he puked
and strained till he got so weakened his head hung over the side of the
bed and hot water poured out of his mouth same as if he had water brash.
Along toward morning Doc Robbins come riding by. He had a bottle of
apple brandy and we mixed it with wild honey. It wasn't long till Robert
got ease. Doc set a while and about the middle of the morning he give
Robert two heaping spoonfuls of castor oil."

From then on no one could coax Robert Burns to touch a mouthful of
butter nor drink a cup of sweet milk. Though he drank his fill of
buttermilk with never a pain.

As for the shaded grove where the cow had grazed, every tree was cleared
away--at Doc Robbins's orders. The sunlight poured into the place and
soon there was a green meadow where once the shaded plot had been
covered with a poisoned vegetation. Cows grazed at their will over the
place with no ill effects.

Still Robert had no hankering for butter or sweet milk.

"You've no need to fear milk sick now," Doc Robbins tried to reassure
Robert. "It's never found where there's sunlight." Though he could never
figure out whether the deep shade produced a poisonous gas that settled
on the vegetation, or whether it came from some mineral in the ground,
he did know, and so did others, that whatever the cause it disappeared
when sunlight took the place of dense shade.

The incident was scarcely forgotten when ill luck again befell Millie
and Robert. Their barn burned to the ground, reducing their harvest and
their only mule to ashes.

Tongues wagged. "Bad luck comes to the couple married on horseback."

Everyone the countryside over was convinced of the truth of the old
superstition one fall when a tragedy unheard-of overtook Millie at

No one ever knew how it happened. But some said that Brock Cyrus's
half-witted boy was the cause of it. He shouted, "Look out thar!" and
Millie, looking up from her task of feeding cane stalks into the mill,
saw, or thought she saw, her babe, Little Robert, toddling toward the
boiling pans. She screamed and lunged forward, and as she did so the
mule started on a run. The beam to which it was hitched whirled about
and struck Millie helpless. Before anyone could reach her side or stop
the frightened mule, her right hand was drawn into the mill, then her
left. With another revolution of the iron teeth of the cane mill both of
her arms were chopped into shreds.

It was necessary for old Doc Robbins to amputate both at the shoulders.
Everyone thought it would take Millie Burns out and they said as much.
But she lived long, long years, even raised a family. All her days she
sat in a strange chair that Robert made. A chair with a high shelf on
which her babes, each in turn, lay to nurse at her breast.

And always the armless woman was pointed out as a warning to young
courting couples, "Don't get married on horseback! It brings ill luck,
no end of ill luck."

                              DEATH CROWN

Once you evidence even the slightest respect of a superstition in the
Blue Ridge Country there is ever a firm believer eager to show proof of
the like beyond all doubt. It was so with Widow Plater as we sat by the
flickering light of the little oil lamp in her timeworn cabin that
looked down on the Shenandoah Valley.

"I want to show you Josephus's crown," she said in a hushed voice. Going
to the bureau she opened the top drawer, bringing out what appeared to
be a plate wrapped in muslin. She placed it on the stand table beside
the lamp and carefully laid back the covering, revealing a matted circle
of feathers about the size of the human head. The circle was about two
inches thick and a finger length in width. Strangely enough the feathers
were all running the same way and were so closely matted together they
did not pull apart even under pressure of the widow's firm hand, she
showed with much satisfaction. "Can't no one pull asunder a body's death
crown," she said with firm conviction.

Resuming her chair she went on with the story. "All of six months my
husband, Josephus, poor soul, lay sick with his poor head resting on the
same pillow day in and day out. I'd come to know he was on his death
bed," she said resignedly, "for one day when I smoothed a hand over his
pillow I felt there his crown a-forming inside the ticking. I'd felt the
crown with my own hands and I knew death was hovering over my man.
Though I didn't tell him so. I wanted he should not be troubled, that he
should die a peaceable death and he did. When we laid him out we put the
pillow under his head and when we laid him away I opened the pillow and
took out his crown that I knew to be there all of six months before he
breathed his last." She sighed deeply. "It's not everyone that has a
crown"--there was wistful pride in her voice--"and them that has, they
do say, is sure of another up yonder." The Widow Plater lifted
tear-dimmed eyes heavenward. "And what's more, it is the bounden duty of
them that's left to keep the crown of their dead to their own dying day.
Josephus's death crown I'll pass on to my oldest daughter when my time

Carefully she folded the matted circle of feathers in its muslin
covering and reverently replaced it in the bureau drawer.

                            A WHITE FEATHER

Rhodie Polhemus who lived on Bear Fork of Puncheon Creek was one who
believed in signs. It had started long years ago when Alamander, her
husband, had met an untimely fate. That morning after he had gone out
hunting Rhodie was sweeping the floor when she saw a white feather
fluttering about the brush of her broom. It hovered strangely in midair,
then sank slowly to the puncheon floor near the door. "The angel of
death is nigh. There'll be a corpse under this roof this day." Rhodie
trembled with fear. Sure enough Alamander was carried in stark dead
before sundown. It came at a time when there wasn't a plank on the
place. They had disposed of their timber, which was little enough, as
fast as it was sawed. So that there was not a piece left with which to
make Alamander's burying box. Nor was there a whipsaw in the whole
country round with which to work, the itinerate sawyer having gone on
with his property to another creek. But folks were neighborly and
willing. They cut down a fine poplar tree, reduced a log of it to proper
length and with ax and adze hewed out a coffin for Rhodie's husband,
hollowing it out into a trough and shaping the ends to fit the corpse.
The lid they made of clapboards. Placing a coverlid inside the trough
they laid the body of Alamander upon it, made fast the lid, and bore him
off to the burying ground.

"I knowed his time had come," Rhodie often repeated the story, "when I
found the white feather--and when it hovered near the door where
Alamander went out that morning."

There were other signs.

All of a week after Alamander was buried Rhodie claimed she had seen the
mound above him rise and move in ripples the full length of the log
coffin in which he lay buried. "Could be he's not resting easy," the old
woman said to herself. "Could be the coverlid under his back is
wrinkled." In response to her question the departed Alamander is said to
have assured his widow that it was his sign of letting her know he was
aware of her presence. However, when curious neighbors accompanied
Rhodie to the burying ground, the mound remained still as a rock. Rhodie
said it was the sign that he had rather she come to his grave alone.

Though there was never an eyewitness to the rippling earth on the grave
save that of Rhodie, whenever anyone found a white feather about the
house he remembered what the old woman on Bear Fork of Puncheon Creek
had said, "It is a sign of death!"

                               7. LEGEND

                           CROCKETT'S HOLLOW

When Jasper Tipton married Talithie Burwell and settled on Tipton's Fork
in Crockett's Hollow, folks said no one could ask for a better start.
The Tiptons had given the couple their house seat, a bedstead, a table.
Jasper had a team of mules he had swapped for a yoke of oxen, and he had
a cookstove that he had bought with his own savings. A step stove it
was, two caps below and two higher up. The Burwells had seen to it that
their daughter did not go empty-handed to her man. She had a flock tick,
quilts, coverlids, and a cow. But, old Granny Withers, a midwife from
Caney Creek, sitting in the chimney corner sucking her pipe the night of
the wedding, vowed that all would not be well with the pair. Hadn't a
bat flitted into the room right over Talithie's head when the elder was
speaking the words that joined the two in wedlock? Everyone knew the
sign. Everyone knew too that Talithie Burwell, with her golden hair and
blue eyes, had broken up the match between Jasper and Widow Ashby's
Sabrina. Yet Talithie and Jasper vowed that all was fair in love and
war. If a man's heart turned cold toward a maid, it was none of his
fault. There was nothing to be done about it. You can't change a man's
way with woman, they said. It's writ in the Book.

And soon as Jasper had cast her off, Widow Ashby's Sabrina took to her
bed and there she meant to stay, so she said, the rest of her life.
Or--until she got a sign that would give her heart ease. Sabrina Ashby
didn't mince her words either. "I don't care what the sign may be," she
said it right out, before Granny Withers. That toothless creature
cackled and replied, "I'm satisfied you're knocking center."

Indeed Sabrina was telling the truth. She meant every word of it. The
jilted girl did not go to the wedding. She didn't need to, as far as
that was concerned, for old Granny Withers came hobbling over the
mountain fast as her crooked old legs would carry her, and it in the
dead of winter, mind you, to tell Widow Ashby's Sabrina all that had
happened. How lovely fair the bride looked beside her handsome
bridegroom! "Eh law, they were a doughty couple, Jasper and Talithie,"
Granny Withers mouthed the words. She lifted a bony finger, "Yet, mark
my words, ill luck awaits the two. When the bat flew into the house and
dipped low over the fair bride's head, she trembled like she had the

"The bat flew over her head?" Sabrina interrupted, eyes glistening. "A
bat--it's blind--stone blind!" the jilted girl echoed gleefully.
"There's a sign for you, Mistress Jasper Tipton, to conjure with!" She
let out a screech and then a weird laugh that echoed through Crockett's
Hollow. She cast off the coverlid and in one bound was in the middle of
the floor, though she had lain long weeks pining away. She clapped her
hands high overhead like she was shouting at meeting. Sabrina laughed
again and again, holding her sides.

Granny Withers thought the girl bewitched. So did Widow Ashby and when
the two tried to put a clabber poultice on her head and sop her wrists
in it, the jilted Sabrina thrust them aside with pure main strength.
That was the night of the wedding.

The days went by. Jasper and Talithie were happy and content everyone

Old Granny Withers in her dilapidated hut up the cove watched and
carried tales to Sabrina. The forsaken girl listened as the old midwife
told how she had seen the two with arms about each other sitting in the
doorway in the evening many a time when their work was done. Or how she
had found them in loving embrace when by chance she happened to pass
along the far end of their corn patch. "Under the big tree, mind you!"
Granny Withers scandalized beyond further speech clapped hand to mouth,
rolled her eyes in dismay. "Just so plum lustful over each other they
can't bide till night time. The marriage bed is the fitten place for
such as that."

When the forsaken Sabrina heard such things she burned with envy and
jealousy. Secretly she tried to conjure the pair, to no avail. That had
been by wishing them ill. She meant to try again. One day she went far
into the woods and caught a toad. She put it in a bottle. "There you
are, Mistress Talithie Tipton. I've named the toad for you!" she gloated
as she made fast the stopper. "You'll perish there. That's what you'll
do. Didn't old Granny Withers tell me how she worked such conjure on a
false true love in her young day? He died within twelve month. Slipped
off a high cliff!" Stealthily, in the dusk, Sabrina made her way through
the brush to a lonely spot far up the hollow where the big rock hung.
There she put the bottle far back under a slab of stone.

She waited eagerly to hear some word of the wedded couple.

One day, a few months later, old Granny Withers came hobbling again over
the mountain. "Jasper's woman is heavy with child," the toothless
midwife grinned, moistening her wrinkled lips with the tip of her
tongue. "He's done axed me to tend her."

Not even to Granny Withers did Sabrina tell of the toad in the bottle.
"If you ever tell to a living soul what you've done, that breaks the
conjure," the old midwife had warned long ago. So Sabrina kept a still
tongue and bided her time. Nor did she have long to wait.

News traveled swiftly by word-of-mouth. And bad news was fleetest of

At first Jasper and his wife were unaware of their babe's fate, though
Talithie had noticed one day, when the midwife carried the little one to
the door where the sun was shining brightly, that it did not bat an eye.
Granny Withers noticed too, but she said never a word. The young mother
kept her fear within her heart. She did not speak of it to Jasper.

Two weeks later, after Granny Withers had gone, Talithie was up doing
her own work. Supper was over and the young parents sat by the log fire.
There was chill in the air. The babe had whimpered in her bee-gum crib,
a crib that the proud young father had fashioned from a hollowed log in
which wild bees had once stored their honey. Cut the log in two, did
Jasper, scraped it clean, and with the rounded side turned down it made
as fine a cradle as anyone could wish. With eager hands Talithie placed
in it, months before her babe was born, a clean feather tick, no bigger
than a pillow of their own bed. Pieced a little quilt too, did the
happy, expectant mother.

How contentedly the little one snuggled there even the very first time
Talithie put her in the crib! Rarely did the child whimper, but this
night small Margie was fretful. Talithie gathered her up and came back
to the hearth crooning softly as she jolted to and fro in a straight
chair. The Tipton household, like most in Crockett's Hollow, owned no
such luxury as a rocker. But for all the crooning and jolting small
Margie fretted, rubbed her small fists into her eyes, and drew up her
legs. "Might be colic," thought Talithie. "Babes have to fret and cry
some, makes them grow," offered the young father who continued to
whittle a butter bowl long promised. However, for all his notions about
it, Talithie was troubled. Never before had she known the babe to be so

The log fire was burning low and in the dimness of the room she leaned
down to the hearth, picked up a pine stick and lighted it. She held it
close above the babe's face. The small eyes were open wide and strangely
staring. Talithie passed the bright light to and fro before the little
one's gaze. But never once did the babe bat a lash.

"Lord God Almighty!" Talithie cried, dropping the lighted pine to the
floor. "Our babe is blind, Jasper! Blind, I tell you! Stone blind!"

Jasper leaped to his feet. The wooden bowl, the knife, clattered to the
floor. The pine stick still burning lay where it had fallen.

"Our babe can't be blind," he moaned, falling to his knees. "Our
helpless babe that's done no harm to any living soul, our spotless pure
babe can't be so afflicted!" he sobbed bitterly, putting his arms about
the two he loved best in all the world.

The pine stick where Talithie dropped it burned deep into the puncheon
floor leaving a scar that never wore away.

Again old Granny Withers hobbled over the mountain as fast as she had
the night she bore the news to Sabrina about the bat that flew over the
fair bride's head. "Talithie's babe is blind--stone blind, Sabrina
Ashby! Do you hear that?"

This time Widow Ashby's Sabrina did not cry out in glee. She did not
clap her hands above her head and laugh wildly. The forsaken girl sank
into a chair. Her face turned deathly white, she stared ahead, unseeing.

It was a long time before she spoke. Then there was no one there to
hear. Granny Withers had scurried off in the dark and Widow Ashby--she
was long since dead and gone.

"A toad in a bottle," the frightened Sabrina whispered and her voice
echoed in the barren room, "a toad in a bottle works a conjure. Ma's
gone and now Talithie's babe and Jasper's is plum stone blind." She
swayed to and fro, crying hysterically. Then she buried her face in the
vise of her hands, moaning, "Little Margie Tipton, your pretty blue eyes
won't never 'tice no false true love away from no fair maid. And you,
Mistress Jasper Tipton, you'll have many a long year for to ruminate
such things through your own troubled mind."

                   *       *       *       *       *

Some shake their heads sympathetically, finger to brow, when they speak
of Widow Ashby's Sabrina living alone in her ramshackle house far up at
the head of Crockett's Hollow. "A forsaken girl that holds grudge and
works conjure comes to be a sorry, sorry woman," they say.

Should you pass along that lonely creek and venture to call a cheery
"Hallo!" only a weird, cackling laugh, a harsh "Begone" will echo in

                          THE SILVER TOMAHAWK

In Carter County, Kentucky, there is a legend which had its beginning
long ago when Indian princesses roamed the Blue Ridge, and pioneers'
hopes were high of finding a lost silver mine said to be in caves close

Morg Tompert loved to tell the story. As long as he lived the old fellow
could be found on a warm spring day sitting in the doorway of his little
shack nearly hidden by a clump of dogwoods. A shack of rough planks that
clung tenaciously to the mountain side facing Saltpeter, or as it was
sometimes called--Swindle Cave. The former name came from the deposit of
that mineral, the latter from the counterfeiters who carried on their
nefarious trade within the security of the dark cavern.

As he talked, Morg plucked a dogwood blossom that peeped around the
corner of his shack like a gossipy old woman. "See that bloom?" He held
it toward the visitor. "Some say that a Indian princess who was slain by
a jealous chieftain sopped up her heart's blood with it and that's how
come the stains on the tip of the white flower. There have been Indian
princesses right here on this very ground." Morg nodded slowly. "There's
the empty tomb of one--yes, and there's a silver mine way back yonder in
that cave. They were there long before them scalawags were
counterfeiting inside that cave. Did ever you hear of Huraken?" he asked
with childish eagerness. Morg needed no urging. He went on to tell how
this Indian warrior of the Cherokee tribe loved a beautiful Indian
princess named Manuita:

"Men are all alike no matter what their color may be. They want to show
out before the maiden they love best. Huraken did. He roved far away to
find a pretty for her. That is to say a pretty he could give the
chieftain, her father, in exchange for Manuita's hand. He must have been
gone a right smart spell for the princess got plum out of heart, allowed
he was never coming back and, bless you, she leapt off a cliff. Killed
herself! And all this time her own true love was unaware of what she had
done. He, himself, was give up to be dead. But what kept him away so
long was he had come upon a silver mine. He dug the silver out of the
earth, melted it, and made a beautiful tomahawk. He beat it out on the
anvil and fashioned a peace pipe on its handle. He must have been proud
as a peacock strutting in the sun preening its feathers. Huraken was
hurrying along, fleet as a deer through the forest, his shiny tomahawk
glistening in his strong right hand. The gift for the chieftain in
exchange for the princess bride. All of a sudden he halted right off yon
a little way. There where the stony cliff hangs over. Right there before
Huraken's eyes at his feet lay the corpse of an Indian lass, face
downward. When he turned the face upwards, it was the princess. Princess
Manuita, his own true love. His sorryful cry raised up as high as the
heavens. Huraken was plum beside himself with grief. He gathered up the
princess in his arms and packed her off into the cave. Her tomb is right
in there yet--empty."

Old Morg paused for breath. "Huraken kept it secret where he had buried
his true love. He meant to watch over her tomb all the rest of his life.
Then the chieftain, Manuita's father, got word of it somehow. He vowed
to his tribe that Huraken had murdered his daughter in cold blood. So
the chieftain and his tribe set out and captured Huraken. They bound him
hand and foot with strips of buckskin out in the forest so that wild
varmints could come and devour his flesh and he couldn't help himself.
He'd concealed his tomahawk next to his hide under his heavy deerskin
hunting coat. But the spirit of the dead princess pitied her helpless
lover. Come a big rain that night that pelted him and soaked him plum to
the skin. The princess had prayed of the Rain God to send that downpour.
It soaked the buckskin through and through that bound Huraken's hands
and feet and he wriggled loose. Many a long day and night he wandered
away off in strange forests, but all the time the spirit of his true
love, the princess, haunted him. He got no peace till he came back and
give himself up to the chieftain. Only one thing the prisoner asked.
Would they let him go to the cave before they put him to death? Now the
Cherokees are fearful of evil spirits. When they took Huraken to the
mouth of the cave they would go no farther. 'Evil spirits are inside!'
the chieftain said, and the rest of his tribe nodded and frowned. So
Huraken went into the dark cave alone. From that to this he's never been
seen. And the corpse of the Princess Manuita, it's gone too. Her empty
tomb is in yonder's cave. Not even a crumb of her bones can be found."

Old Morg Tompert reflected a long moment. "I reckon when Huraken packed
the princess off somewhere else her corpse come to be a heavy load. He
dropped his silver tomahawk that he had aimed to give the chieftain for
his daughter's hand. It lay for a hundred year or more--I reckon it's
been that long--right where it was dropped. Off yonder in Smoky Valley
under a high cliff some of Pa's kinfolks found it. A silver tomahawk
with a peace pipe carved on its handle. Pa's own blood kin, by name, Ben
Henderson, found that silver tomahawk but no living soul has ever found
the lost silver mine. There's bound to have been a mine, else Huraken
could never have made that silver tomahawk. Only one lorn white man knew
where it was. His name was Swift. But when he died, he taken the secret
of the silver mine to the grave with him. Swift ought to a-told some of
the womenfolks," declared old Morg, still vexed at the man Swift's
laxity though his demise had occurred ages ago. "Swift ought to a-told
some of the womenfolks," old Morg repeated with finality.

                               BLACK CAT

From where old Pol Gentry lived on Rocky Fork of Webb's Creek she could
see far down into the valley of Pigeon River and across the ridge on all
sides. Her house stood at the very top of Hawks Nest, the highest peak
in all the country around. Pol didn't have a tight house like several
down near the sawmill. She said it wasn't healthy. Even when the owner
of the portable mill offered her leftover planks to cover her log house
where the daubin had fallen out, Pol refused. "The holes let the wind in
and the cat out," she'd say, "and a body can't do without either."

There was a long sleek cat, with green eyes and fur as black as a crow,
to be seen skulking in and out of Pol Gentry's place. If it met a person
as it prowled through the woods, the cat darted off swift as a weasel
into the bush to hide away. Young folks on Rocky Fork of Webb's Creek
learned early to snatch off hat or bonnet if the cat crossed their path,
spit into it, and put it quickly on again--to break the witch of old Pol
Gentry's black cat. But never were the two, Pol and the cat, seen

Truth to tell there were some among the old folks on Rocky Fork who long
had vowed that Pol and the cat were one and the same. They declared Pol
was a witch in league with the Devil and that she could change herself
from woman to cat when the spell was strong enough within her, when the
evil spirits took a good strong hold upon her. Moreover, Pol Gentry had
but one tooth. One sharp fang in the very front of her upper jaw. "A
woman is bound to be a witch if she has just one tooth," folks said and

Pol Gentry was a frightful creature to look upon. She had a heavy growth
of hair, coal black hair all around her mouth and particularly upon her
upper lip. Her beard was plain to be seen even when she turned in at a
neighbor's lane, long before she reached the door. Little children at
first sight of her ran screaming to hide their faces in their mother's

There wasn't a child old enough to give ear to a tale who hadn't heard
of Pol Gentry's powers. How she had bewitched Dan Eskew's little girl
Flossie. It wouldn't have happened, some said, if Flossie had spit in
her bonnet when the black cat crossed her path as she trooped through
the woods one day gathering wild flowers. That very evening when she got
back home Flossie sank on the doorstep, the bonnet filled with wild
flowers dropped from her arm. She moaned pitifully, holding her head
between her hands and swaying to and fro. Right away her head began to
swell and by the time they got word to Seth Eeling, the wizard doctor
who lived in Mossy Bottom, Flossie's head was twice its size. Indeed,
Flossie Eskew's head was as big as a full-grown pumpkin. The minute the
wizard clapped eyes on the child he spoke out.

"Beat up eggshells as fine as you can and give them to this child in a
cup of water. If she is bewitched this mixture will pass through her

Orders were promptly obeyed. Flossie drained the cup but no sooner had
Flossie passed the powdered egg shells than the witch left her. Her head
went back to its natural size. Nevertheless Flossie Eskew died that

"Didn't send for the wizard soon enough," Seth Eeling said.

Some believed in the powers of both, though neither witch nor wizard
would give the other a friendly look, much less a word.

Pol Gentry was never downright friendly with any, though she would hoe
for a neighbor in return for something to eat. "My place is too rocky to
raise anything," she excused herself. And whatever was given her, Pol
would carry home then and there. "Them's fine turnips you've got,
Mistress Darby," she said one day, and Sallie Darby up and handed her a
double handful of turnips. Pol opened the front of her dirty calico
mother-hubbard, put the turnips inside against her dirty hide and
tripped off with them. Nor was Pol Gentry one to sit home at tasks such
as knitting or piecing a quilt. But everyone admitted there never was a
better hand the country over at raising pigs. So Pol swapped pigs for
knitting. She had to have long yarn stockings, mittens, a warm hood, for
her pigs had to be fed and tended winter and summer. Others needed meat
as much as Pol needed things to keep her warm. Tillie Bocock was glad to
knit stockings for the old witch in return for a plump shoat. Tillie had
several mouths to feed. Her man was a no-account, who spent his time
fishing in summer and hunting in winter, so that all the work fell to
Tillie. Day by day she tended and fed the shoat. It was
black-and-white-spotted and fat as a butterball, she and the little
Bococks bragged.

"Another month and you can butcher that shoat." Old Pol would stop in at
Tillie's every time she went down the mountain, eyeing the fat pig.
Sometimes she would put the palms of her dirty hands against her mouth
and rub the black hair back to this side and to that, then she'd stroke
her chin as though her black beard hung far down. Pol would make a
clucking sound with her tongue. "Wisht I was chawin' on a juicy sparerib
or gnawin' me a greasy pig's knuckle right now," she'd say. Then Pol
would begin on a long tale of witchery: how she had seen young husbands
under the spell of her craft grow faithless to young, pretty wives; how
children gained power over their parents through her and had their own
will in all things, even to getting title to house and land from them
before it should have been theirs. She told how Luther Trumbo's John
took with barking fits like a dog and became a hunchback over night.
"Why? Becaze he made mauck of Pol Gentry, that's why!" She rubbed a
dirty hand around her hairy mouth and cackled gleefully.

At that Tillie Bocock turned to her frightened children huddled behind
her chair. "Get you gone, the last one of you out to the barn. Such
witchy talk is not for young ears."

Then old Pol Gentry scowled at Tillie and her sharp eyes flashed and she
puffed her lips in and out. Pol didn't say anything but Tillie could see
she was miffed and there was in her sharp eyes a look that said, "Never
mind, Tillie Bocock, you'll pay for this."

Next morning Pol Gentry was up bright and early, rattling the pot on the
stove and grumbling to herself. "I'll show Tillie Bocock a thing or two.
So I will. Sending her young ones out of my hearing."

Far down the ridge Tillie Bocock was up early too, for already the sun
was bright and there was corn to hoe. Tillie and the children had washed
the dishes, and she had carried out the soapy dishwater with cornbread
scraps mixed in it and poured it in the trough for the pig. "Spotty,"
they called their pet. The Bococks had no planks with which to make a
separate pen for the spotted pig so they kept its trough in a corner of
the chicken lot.

"Mazie, you and Saphroney go fetch a bucket of cold water for Spotty,"
Tillie called to her two eldest. "A pig likes a cold drink now and then
same as we do." So off the children went with the cedar bucket to the
spring. When they returned they poured some of the water into the
dishpan and Spotty sucked it up greedily while they hurried to pour the
rest into the mudhole where the pig liked to wallow.

The sun caked the mud on the pig's sides and legs as it lay grunting
contentedly in the chicken yard.

And when Tillie and the children came in from hoeing corn at dinner time
Spotty still lay snoozing in the sun. An hour later they returned to
toss a handful of turnip greens into the pig. But Spotty didn't even
grunt or get up, for on its side was a sleek black cat. A cat with green
eyes stretched full length working its claws into the pig's muddy sides,
now with the front paws, now with the hind ones.

The children screamed and stomped a foot. "Scat! Scat!" they cried but
the black cat only turned its fierce eyes toward them.

Hearing their screams Tillie came running out. She fluttered her apron
at the cat to scare it away but it only snarled, showing its teeth,
lifting its bristling whiskers. Then Tillie picked up a stone and threw
it as hard as she could, striking the cat squarely between the eyes. It
screamed like a human, Tillie told afterwards. Loud and wild it
screamed, and leaping off the pig it darted off quick as a flash.

When the cat reached the cliff halfway up the mountain that led toward
Pol Gentry's it turned around and looked back. With one paw uplifted it
wiped its face for there was blood pouring out of the cut between its
shining green eyes. It twitched its mouth till the black fur stood up.

"Come, get up, Spotty!" Tillie and the children coaxed the pig. "Here's
more dishwater slop for you. Here's some cornbread!"

Slowly the pig got to its knees, then to its feet. It grunted once only
and fell over dead.

After that old Pol Gentry wasn't seen for days. But when Tillie Bocock
did catch sight of her, Pol turned off from the footpath and hurried
away. Even so Tillie saw the deep gash in Pol's forehead oozing blood
right between her eyes. She saw Pol Gentry's mouth widen angrily and the
black hair about it twitch like that of a snarling cat, as she slunk

                      THE DEER WOMAN AND THE FAWN

Amos Tingley, a bachelor, and a miser as well, lived in Laurel Hollow.
Nearby was a salt lick for deer. Often he saw them come there a few at a
time, lick the salt, and scamper away. There were two he noticed in
particular, a mother and its fawn. They had come nearer than the salt
lick--into his garden--more than once and trampled what they did not
like, or nibbled to the very ground things that suited their taste,
vegetables that Amos had toiled to plant and grow. He didn't want to
harm the animals if it could be helped so Amos thought to make a pet of
the fawn. When a boy he had had a pet fawn, carried it in his arms. He
even brought it into the house and when it grew older the little
creature followed at his heels like a dog. He reached a friendly hand
toward this fawn in his garden but it kicked up its heels and fairly
flew down the garden path. However, the mother, watching her chance when
Amos had returned to the house, led her fawn into the garden again and
together they ate their fill of the choicest green things.

It annoyed Amos Tingley no little. He determined to put a stop to it.
One evening he greased his old squirrel rifle. He took lead balls out of
the leather pouch that hung on the wall, rolled them around in the palm
of his hand, and wondered when his chance would come to use them. As he
sat turning the thoughts over in his mind pretty Audrey Billberry and
her little girl, Tinie, came along the road. Audrey was a widow. Had
been since Tinie was six months old. Some wondered how she got along.
But Audrey Billberry was never one to complain and if neighbors went
there she always urged them to stay and eat. If it was winter, there was
plenty of rabbit stew and turnips and potatoes, or squirrel and quail.
Audrey loved wild meat. "It's cleaner," she'd say, "and sweeter. Sweet
meats make pretty looks." Audrey smiled and showed her dimples and
little Tinie patted her mother's hand and looked up admiringly into her
face. Then off the two would skip through the woods to gather greens or
berries, chestnuts or wild turkey eggs, whatever the season might bring.

Sometimes they went hand in hand, Audrey and the child, past Amos
Tingley's place.

"Good day, to you," pretty Audrey Billberry would call out and Tinie
would say the same. "How goes it with you today, good neighbor?"

"Well enough," Amos answered, "and better still if I can get rid of that
pestering deer and her fawn. The two have laid waste my garden patch.
See yonder!" he pointed with the squirrel rifle. "And it won't be good
for the two the next time they come nibbling around here!"

Pretty Audrey Billberry gripped little Tinie's hand until the child
squealed and hopped on one foot. They looked at each other, then at the
gun. Fright came into their eyes. Audrey tried to laugh lightly. "When
you kill that deer be sure to bring me a piece, neighbor Tingley," she
said, as unconcerned as you please, and away she went with the little
girl at her side. When they reached home Audrey Billberry turned the
wood button on the door and flung back her head. "Kill a deer and her
fawn! There is no fear, Tinie. Why"--she scoffed--"Amos Tingley's got
only lead to load his rifle. I saw." She put her hands to her sides and
laughed and danced around the room. "Lead can't kill a deer and her
fawn. It takes silver! Silver! Do you hear that, Tinie? Silver hammered
and molded round to load the gun. And when, I'd like to know, would
skinflint Amos Tingley, the miser, ever destroy a silver coin by
pounding it into a ball to load a gun? There's nothing to fear. Rest
easy, Tinie. Besides all living creatures must eat. It is their right.
Only silver, remember, not lead, can harm the deer. A miser will keep
his silver and let his garden go!" She caught little Tinie by both hands
and skipped to and fro across the floor, saying over and over, "Only
silver can harm the deer."

The wind caught up her words and carried them through the trees, across
the ridge into Laurel Hollow.

While Audrey and Tinie skipped and frolicked and chanted, "Only silver
can harm the deer," Amos Tingley, the miser, over in Laurel Hollow was
busy at work. He took a silver coin from the leather poke in his pocket
and hammered it flat on the anvil in his barn. Thin as paper he hammered
it until he could roll it easily between thumb and finger. Then around
and around he rolled it between his palms until there was a ball as
round and as firm as ever was made with a mold. Amos put it in his

The next morning when he went out to work in his garden there was
scarcely a head of cabbage left. The bunch beans he had been saving back
and the cut-short beans had been plucked and the row of sweet corn which
he had planted so carefully along the fence-row had been stripped to the
last roasting ear. He stooped down to look at the earth. "Footprints of
the deer and the fawn, without a doubt. But she must have worn an apron
or carried a basket to take away so much." Amos shook his head in
perplexity. Then he hurried back to the house to get his gun.

"Right here do I wait." He braced himself in the doorway, back to the
jam, knees jackknifed, gun cocked. "Here do I wait until I catch sight
of that doe and her fawn."

It wasn't long till the two appeared on a nearby ridge, pranking to and
fro. Into the forest they scampered, then out again, frisking up their
hind feet, then standing still as rocks and looking down at Amos Tingley
in his doorway.

Then Amos lifted his gun, pulled the trigger.

The fawn darted away but the deer fell bleeding with a bullet in the

"Let her bleed! Bleed till there's not a drop of blood left in her veins
and my silver coin is washed back to my own hands!" That was the wish of
Amos Tingley, the miser. He went back into the house and put his gun in
the corner.

When darkness came little Tinie Billberry stood sobbing at Amos
Tingley's door. "Please to come," she pleaded. "My mother says she'll
die if you don't. She wants to make amends!"

"Amends?" gasped Amos Tingley. "Amends for what?"

But Tinie had dashed away in the darkness.

When Amos reached pretty Audrey Billberry's door, he found her pale in
the candlelight, her ankle shattered and bleeding. The foot rested in a

"See what you've done, Amos Tingley." The pretty widow lifted
tear-dimmed eyes, while Tinie huddled shyly behind her. "A pitcher of
water, quick, Tinie, to wash away the blood!"

As the child poured the water over the bleeding foot, Amos heard
something fall into the basin. He caught the flash of silver. Amos stood

In the basin lay the silver ball the miser had made from a coin.

"Never tell!" cried pretty Audrey Billberry, her dark eyes starting from
the bloodless face. "Never tell and I promise, I promise and so does
Tinie--see we promise together."

The child had put down the pitcher and came shyly to rest her head upon
her mother's shoulder, her small hand in Audrey's.

"We promise," they spoke together, "never, never again to bother your

They kept their word all three, Amos Tingley and pretty Audrey Billberry
and little Tinie. But somebody told, for the tale still lives in Laurel
Hollow of the miser and the deer woman and the little fawn.

                          GHOST OF DEVIL ANSE

Near the village of Omar, Logan County, in the hills of West Virginia
there is a little burying ground that looks down on Main Island Creek.
It is a family burying ground, you soon discover when you climb the
narrow path leading to the sagging gate in the rickety fence that
encloses it. There are a number of graves, some with head stones, some
without. But one grave catches the eye, for above it towers a white
marble statue. The statue of a mountain man, you know at once by the
imposing height, the long beard, the sagging breeches stuffed into
high-topped boots. Drawing nearer, you read the inscription upon the
broad stone base upon which the statue rests:

                        CAPT. ANDERSON HATFIELD

and below the names of his thirteen children:

                              WM. A.
                              ROBERT L.
                              ELLIOTT R.
                              JOSEPH D.
                              WILLIS E.

You lift your eyes again to the marble statue. If you knew him in life,
you'll say, "This is a fine likeness--and a fine piece of marble."

"His children had it done in Italy," someone offers the information.

"So," you say to yourself, "this is the grave of Devil Anse Hatfield."

You've seen all there is to see. You're ready to go, if you are like
hundreds of others who visit the last resting place of the leader of the
Hatfield-McCoy feud. But, if you chance to tarry--say, in the fall when
fogs are heavy there in the Guyan Valley, through which Main Island
Creek flows--you may see and hear things strangely unaccountable.

Close beside the captain's grave is another. On the stone is carved the
name--Levisa Chafin Hatfield. If you were among the many who attended
her funeral you will remember how peaceful she looked in her black
burying dress she'd kept so long for the occasion. Again you will see
her as she lay in her coffin, hands primly folded on the black frock,
the frill of lace on the black bonnet framing the careworn face. You
look up suddenly to see a mountain woman in a somber calico frock and
slat bonnet. She is putting new paper flowers, to take the place of the
faded ones, in the glass-covered box between the grave of Devil Anse and
the mother of his children.

"You best come home with me," she invites with true hospitality, after
an exchange of greetings. You learn that Molly claims kin to both sides,
being the widow of a Hatfield and married to a McCoy, and at once you
are disarmed.

That night as you sit with Molly in the moonlight in the dooryard of her
shack, a weather-beaten plank house with a clapboard roof and a crooked
stone chimney, she talks of life in the West Virginia hills. "There's a
heap o' things happens around this country that are mighty skeery."
Suddenly in the gloaming a bat wings overhead, darts inside the shack.
You can hear it blundering around among the rafters. An owl screeches
off in the hollow somewhere. "Do you believe in ghosts and haynts?"
There are apprehension and fear in Molly's voice.

Presently the owl screeches dolefully once more and the bat wheels low
overhead. A soft breeze stirs the pawpaw bushes down by the fence row.
"Did you hearn something mourn like, just then?" Molly, the widow of a
Hatfield and wife of a McCoy, leans forward.

If you are prudent you make no answer to her questions.

"Nothing to be a-feared of, I reckon. The ghosts of them that has been
baptized they won't harm nobody. I've heard Uncle Dyke Garrett say as
much many's the time." The woman speaks with firm conviction.

A moth brushes her cheek and she straightens suddenly.

The moon is partly hidden behind a cloud; even so by its faint light you
can see the clump of pawpaw bushes, and beyond--the outline of the
rugged hills. Farther off in the burying ground atop the ridge the
marble figure of the leader of the Hatfields rises against the
half-darkened sky.

At first you think it is the sound of the wind in the pines far off in
the hollow, then as it moves toward the burying ground it changes to
that of low moaning voices.

You feel Molly's arm trembling against your own.

"Listen!" she whispers fearfully, all her courage gone. "It's Devil Anse
and his boys. Look yonder!"--she tugs at your sleeve--"See for yourself
they're going down to the waters of baptism!"

Following the direction of the woman's quick trembling hand you strain

At first there seems to be a low mist rolling over the burying ground
and then suddenly, to your amazement, the mist or cloud dissolves itself
into shafts or pillars of the height of the white figure of Devil Anse
above the grave. They form in line and now one figure, the taller, moves
ahead of all the rest. Six there were following the leader. You see
distinctly as they move slowly through the crumbling tombstones, down
the mountain side toward the creek.

"Devil Anse and his boys," repeats the trembling Molly, "going down into
the waters of baptism. They ever do of a foggy night in the falling
weather. And look yonder! There's the ghost too of Uncle Dyke Garrett
a-waiting at the water's edge. He's got the Good Book opened wide in his

Whether it is the giant trunk of a tree with perhaps a leafless branch
extended, who can say? Or is nature playing a prank with your vision?
But, surely, in the eerie moonlight there seems to appear the figure of
a man with arm extended, book in hand, waiting to receive the seven
phantom penitents moving slowly toward the water's edge.

After that you don't lose much time in being on your way. And if anyone
should ask you what of interest is to be seen along Main Island Creek,
if you are prudent you'll answer, "The marble statue of Capt. Anderson
Hatfield." And if you knew him in life you'll add, "And a fine likeness
it is too."

                          THE WINKING CORPSE

On the night of June 22, 1887, the bodies of four dead men lay wrapped
in sheets on cooling boards in the musty sitting room of an old boarding
house in Morehead, Rowan County, Kentucky. Only the bullet-shattered
faces, besmeared with blood, were exposed. Their coffins had not yet
arrived from the Blue Grass. No friend or kinsman watched beside the
bier that sultry summer night; they had prudently kept to their homes,
for excitement ran high over the battle that had been fought that day in
front of the old hostelry which marked, with the death of the four, the
end of the Martin-Tolliver feud.

While the bodies lay side-by-side in the front part of the shambling
house, there sat in the kitchen, so the story goes, a slatternly old
crone peeling potatoes for supper--should the few straggling boarders
return with an appetite, now that all the shooting was over.

It was the privilege of old women like Phronie in the mountains of
Kentucky to go unmolested and help out as they felt impelled in times of
troubles such as these between the Martins and Tollivers.

The place was strangely quiet. Indeed the old boarding house was
deserted. For those who had taken the law in their own hands that day in
Rowan County had called a meeting at the courthouse farther up the road.
The citizenry of the countryside, save kin and friend of the slain
feudists, had turned out to attend.

"Nary soul to keep watch with the dead," Phronie complained under her
breath. "It's dark in yonder. Dark and still as the grave. A body's got
to have light. How else can they see to make it to the other world?" She
paused to sharpen her knife on the edge of the crock, glancing
cautiously now and then toward the door of the narrow hallway that led
to the room where the dead men lay.

The plaintive call of a whippoorwill far off beyond Triplett Creek,
where one of the men had been killed that day, drifted into the quiet

"It's a sorry song for sorry times," murmured old Phronie, "and it ought
to tender the heart of them that's mixed up in these troubles. No how,
whosoever's to blame, the dead ort not to be forsaken."

There was a sound behind her. Phronie turned to see the hall door
opening slowly. "Who's there?" she called. But no one answered. The door
opened wider. But no one entered.

"It's a sign," the old woman whispered. "Well, no one can ever say
Phronie forsaken the dead." It was as though the old crone answered an
unspoken command. She put down the crock of potatoes and the paring
knife. Wiping her hands on her apron, Phronie took the oil lamp, with
its battered tin reflector, from the wall. "Can't no one ever say I
forsaken the dead," she repeated, "nor shunned a sign or token. The
dead's got to have light same as the living."

Holding the lamp before her, she passed slowly along the narrow hall on
to the room where the dead men lay wrapped in their sheets. She drew a
chair from a corner and climbed upon it and hung the lamp above the
mantel. It was the chair on which Craig Tolliver, alive and boastful and
fearless, had sat that morning when she had brought him hot coffee and
cornbread while he kept an eye out for the posse, the self-appointed
citizens who later killed the Tolliver leader and his three companions.

The flickering light of the oil lamp fell upon the ghastly faces of the
dead men.

For a moment the old woman gazed at the still forms. Then suddenly her
glance fixed itself upon the face of Craig Tolliver.

Slowly the lashes of Craig's right eye moved ever so slightly.

Phronie was sure of it. She gripped the back of the chair on which she
stood to steady herself, for now the lid of the dead man's eye twitched
convulsively. As the trembling old woman gaped, the eye of the slain
feudist opened and shut. Not once, but three times, quick as a wink.

"God-a-mighty!" shrieked Phronie, "he ain't dead! Craig Tolliver ain't
dead!" She leaped from the chair and ran fast as her crooked old limbs
would carry her, shrieking as she went, "Craig Tolliver ain't dead!"

Some say it was just the notion of an old woman gone suddenly raving
crazy, though others, half believing, still tell the story of the
winking corpse.


About halfway between the thriving, up-to-date, electrically lighted
City of Ashland, Boyd County, Kentucky, with its million-dollar steel
mills, and Grayson, the county seat of Carter County, Kentucky, there
stands on the hillside a few rods from the modern highway U. S. 60, a
little white cottage with green gables.

Within a mile or so of the place unusual road signs catch your eye.
White posts, each surmounted by a white open scroll. There are ten of
them, put there, no doubt, by some devoted pilgrim. There is one for
each of the Ten Commandments. You read carefully one after the other.
The one nearest the point where you turn off on a dirt road that leads
to the white house with the green gables reads

                   Honor Thy Father and Thy Mother.

You leave your car at the side of the dirt road near U. S. 60, and go on
foot the rest of the way.

You wonder, as you look at the beauty of the well-kept lawn, the
carefully planted hedge and cedars, the step stone walk that leads up
the sloping hill to the door, at the silence of the place. As you draw
nearer, you wonder at the uncurtained windows, neat, small-paned
casements with neither shade nor frill.

You learn that the place has stood untenanted for years. Truth to tell
it has never been occupied. Some call it the haunted house with the
green gables.

Some will tell you there is a shattered romance behind the empty,
green-gabled house. Others contend it _is_ tenanted. They have seen a
lovely woman, lamp in hand, move about from room to room through the
quiet night and stand sometimes beside the window up under the green
gable that looks toward the west. She seems to be watching and waiting,
they say. But when the day dawns woman and lamp vanish into thin air.

Others will tell you that an eccentric old man built the house for his
parents long since dead. He believes, so they say--this old eccentric
man living somewhere in the Kentucky hills (they are not sure of the
exact location)--that his parents will return. Not as an aged couple,
feeble and bent as they died, but in youth, happy and healthful. This
"eccentric" son himself now stooped with age, with silver hair and
faltering step, built the pretty white house that his parents might have
beauty in a dwelling such as they never knew in their former life on
earth. The old fellow himself, so the story goes, makes many a nocturnal
visit to the dream house, hoping to find his parents returned and
happily living within its paneled walls.

There are all sorts of stories, varying in their nature according to the
distance of their origin from the green-gabled house.

Curious people have come all the way from the Pacific Coast to see it,
from New England and Maine, from Canada and Utah.

As the years go by the legend grows.

"Oh, yes, I've seen the haunted house with the green gables," some will
say, glowing with satisfaction. "And they do say the eccentric old man
who built it for his parents has silent, trusty Negro servants dressed
in spotless white who stand behind the high-backed chair of the master
and mistress at the table laden with gleaming silver and a sumptuous
feast. The old man firmly believes his parents will return!"

What with the increasing stories you decide to take a look for yourself.
I did, accompanied by a newsman and a photographer.

Nothing like getting proof of the pudding.

Out you go, under cover of darkness, equipped with flashlights and flash
bulbs. A haunted house, you calculate, will be much more intriguing by
night. Stealthily you draw near. You peer into the windows, the
uncurtained windows, in breathless awe prepared to see the lady with the
lamp floating from room to room, hoping to glimpse the spectral couple
seated at table in the high-paneled dining hall of which you have heard
so many tales. Tales of gleaming silver, white-clad Negro servants
bowing with deference before the master and mistress of the green-gabled

Through the uncurtained windows you gape wide-eyed. Instead of the scene
you expected, there looms before your eyes plunder of all sorts tossed
about helter-skelter: sections of broken bookcases, old tables, musty
books, broken-down chairs.

You are about to retreat in utter disgust when you hear the sound of
footsteps on the cobblestone walk that leads around the house. The sound
draws nearer.

The wary photographer pulls his flashlight. Its bright beam plays upon
the stone walk, catching first in its lighted circle the feet of a man.
The light plays upward quickly. It holds now in its bright orb the
smiling face of a man. A middle-aged man with pleasant blue eyes.

"--could--we see--the owner of this place?" stammers the reporter.

"You're looking at him, sir!" the fellow replies courteously. "What can
I do for you?" It is a pleasant voice with an accent that is almost

"Who--who--are you?" the reporter stammers.

"Hedrick's my name. Ray Hedrick! What's yours?"

When the uninvited visitors have identified themselves the owner invites
you most graciously to take a seat on the doorstep.

You learn that this "eccentric old man," of whom you have heard such
ridiculously fantastic tales, is and has been for a number of years
telegraph operator for the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad at their little
wayside station, Kilgore. It is within a few miles of the mill town of
thriving Ashland, Boyd County, Kentucky, and the county seat of Carter
County. The little railroad station is within a stone's throw, as the
crow flies, of "the haunted house."

"Pleasant weather we are having," the owner observes casually.

"Yes," the reporter replies reluctantly, "but this house--here"--the
reporter is obviously peeved for having been snipe-hunting--"what about
this house?"

"Well," drawls the owner tolerantly, "a house can't help what's been
told about it, can it?"

"But how did the story get started--about it being haunted?" the
reporter is persistent.

The owner jerks a thumb over his shoulder in the direction of U. S. 60.
"Is that your car parked over there?"

There is in his tone that which impels you to stand not on the order of
your going. You go at once--annoyed at being no nearer the answer than
when you came.

And still the curious continue to motor miles and miles to see the
haunted house with the green gables.

                    8. SINGING ON THE MOUNTAIN SIDE

Though there were and are people in the Blue Ridge Country who, like
Jilson Setters, the Singin' Fiddler of Lost Hope Hollow, can neither
read nor write, such obstacles have meant no bar to their poetic bent.
They sing with joy and sorrow, with pride and pleasure, of the scene
about them, matching their skill with that of old or young who boast of
book learning.

                           OF LAND AND RIVER


                Clothed in her many hues of green,
                Far Appalachia rises high
                And takes a robe of different hue
                To match the seasons passing by.

                Her summits crowned by nature's hand,
                With grass-grown balds for all to see,
                Her towering rocks and naked cliffs
                Hid by some overhanging tree.

                In early spring the Maple dons
                Her bright red mantle overnight;
                The Beech is clad in dainty tan,
                The Sarvis in a robe of white.

                The Red Bud in profusion blooms
                And rules the hills a few short days,
                And Dogwoods with their snowy white
                Are mingled with its purple blaze.

                High on the frowning mountain side
                Azaleas bloom like tongues of flame,
                The Laurel flaunts her waxy pink,
                And Rhododendrons prove their fame.

                Then comes the sturdy Chestnut tree
                With plumes like waving yellow hair,
                And Wild Grapes blossom at their will
                To scent the glorious mountain air.

                But when the frost of autumn falls,
                Like many other fickle maids,
                She lays aside her summer robes
                And dons her gay autumnal shades.

                Oh, Appalachia, loved by all!
                Long may you reign, aloof, supreme,
                In royal robes of nature's hues,
                A monarch proud--a mountain Queen.

                                       --Martha Creech

                            BIG SANDY RIVER

             Big Sandy, child of noble birth,
             Majestically you roll along,
             True daughter of the Cumberlands,
             With heritage of wealth and song.

             Free as the hills from whence you came,
             In folklore and tradition bound,
             You seek the valleys deep and wide,
             With frowning forests girded round.

             Descendants of a stalwart breed
             And fed by nature's lavish hand,
             You carry on your bosom broad
             The riches of a virgin land.

             When ringing ax of pioneers
             The silence of the forests broke,
             Upon your rising crest you bore
             The poplar and the mighty oak.

             The push boat launched by brawny arms
             And filled with treasure from the earth
             Has drifted on your current strong
             From out the hills that gave you birth.

             And steamboats loaded to the hold
             You swept upon your swelling tide,
             'Til fruits of sturdy, mountain toil
             Were scattered out both far and wide.

             The Dew Drop plowed your mighty waves.
             From Catlettsburg to old Pike Town,
             To bring her loads of manmade gifts
             And carry homespun products down.

             And Market Boy, that far-famed craft,
             Churned through the foam, her holds to fill,
             And proudly reared her antlered head
             A trophy rare of mountain skill.

                                             --D. Preston

                          OLD TIME WATERFRONT

              Come all you old-time rivermen
              And go along with me,
              Let's sing a song and give a cheer
              For the days that used to be.

              Let's wander down to Catlettsburg
              And look upon the tide.
              We'll mourn the changes time has made
              There by the river side.

              Gone is the old-time waterfront
              That rang with joy and mirth,
              And known throughout a dozen states
              As "the wettest spot on earth."

              And Damron's famed Black Diamond,
              The logger's paradise,
              Where whiskey flowed like water
              And timbermen swapped lies.

              Here Big Wayne ruled in splendor;
              His right, none would deny.
              And Little Wayne was always there
              To serve the rock and rye.

              And Big Wayne never failed a friend,
              Or stopped to chat or lie,
              And no one entering his doors
              Was known to leave there dry.

              And many a time some timberman
              Would land himself in jail,
              But Big Wayne always lent a hand,
              And went the wretch's bail.

              Some of the buildings still are there,
              Along the old-time ways.
              Silent and dark their windows stare
              Gray ghosts of bygone days.

              No sound of merriment or song,
              No dancing footsteps fall;
              The days of fifty years ago,
              Are gone beyond recall.

              So to Big Wayne and Little Wayne,
              Big Sandy's pride and boast,
              And to the old-time waterfront,
              Let's drink a farewell toast.

              While to the old-time timbermen,
              This song we'll dedicate,
              Who fought their battles with their fists,
              And took their whiskey straight.

                                          --Coby Preston

                             WEST VIRGINIA

There is singing in the mountain where the sturdy hill folk meet,
There is singing in the valleys where the days are warm and sweet,
There is singing in the cities where the crowds of workers throng,
Wherever we meet, no day is complete, for West Virginians without a song.

West Virginia, land of beauty, West Virginia, land of song,

West Virginia, hear the singing of the crystal mountain streams,
Songs of joy and songs of power to fulfill man's mightiest dreams,
West Virginia, hear the singing of thy shadowed forest trees,
Holding the winds, holding the floods, so that thy sons may be at ease.

West Virginia, land of beauty, West Virginia, land of song.

                                                   --Esther Eugenia Davis

                             SKYLINE DRIVE

               The Skyline Drive is not a road
               To bring you near the skies
               Where you can sit and gather clouds
               That flit before your eyes,
               Or jump upon a golden fleece
               And sail to paradise--
               But it is a super-mountain road
               Where you can feast your eyes
               Upon the beauties of the world
               The Lord God gave to man
               For his enjoyment and his use;
               Improve it if you can.
               The builders of this Skyline Drive
               Have filed no patent right
               That they improved upon God's plan,
               Nor have more power and might;
               But they have seen His handiwork,
               This panoramic view,
               Have paved this road to ease the load
               Of all the world and you.
               This is akin to hallowed ground,
               A sacred beauty shrine;
               Its fame has traveled all around;
               It now is yours and mine.
               There's little points of vantage--views,
               Where you can see afar--
               Compare the beauty with that land
               That stands with "Gates Ajar."
               The people who have given much
               To save this precious shrine
               Must surely all be friends of God
               And friends of yours and mine.

                                     --George A. Barker


                       THE LOVE OF ROSANNA McCOY

                Come and listen to my story
                Of fair Rosanna McCoy.
                She loved young Jonse Hatfield,
                Old Devil Anse's boy.

                But the McCoys and Hatfields
                Had long engaged in strife,
                And never the son of a Hatfield
                Should take a McCoy to wife.

                But when they met each other,
                On Blackberry Creek, they say,
                She was riding behind her brother,
                When Jonse came along that way.

                "Who is that handsome fellow?"
                She asked young Tolbert McCoy.
                Said he, "Turn your head, sister.
                That's Devil Anse's boy."

                But somehow they met each other,
                And it grieved the Hatfields sore;
                While Randall, the young girl's father,
                Turned his daughter from the door.

                It was down at old Aunt Betty's
                They were courting one night, they say,
                When down came Rosanna's brothers
                And took young Jonse away.

                Rosanna's heart was heavy,
                For she hoped to be his wife,
                And well she knew her brothers
                Would take his precious life.

                She ran to a nearby pasture
                And catching a horse by the mane,
                She mounted and rode like a soldier,
                With neither saddle nor rein.

                Her golden hair streamed behind her,
                Her eyes were wild and bright,
                As she urged her swift steed forward
                And galloped away in the night.

                Straight to the Hatfields' stronghold,
                She rode so fearless and brave,
                To tell them that Jonse was in danger
                And beg them his life to save.

                And the Hatfields rode in a body.
                They saved young Jonse's life;
                But never, they said, a Hatfield
                Should take a McCoy to wife.

                But the feud is long forgotten
                And time has healed the sting,
                As little Bud and Melissy
                This song of their kinsmen sing.

                No longer it is forbidden
                That a fair-haired young McCoy
                Shall love her dark-eyed neighbor
                Or marry a Hatfield boy.

                And the people still remember,
                Though she never became his bride,
                The love of these young people
                And Rosanna's midnight ride.

                                         --Coby Preston


                        THE ROBIN'S RED BREAST

Through the southern mountains the Robin is often called the "Christ
Bird" because of this legend. It is also called "Love Bird."

              The Savior hung upon the cross,
              His body racked with mortal pain;
              The blood flowed from His precious wounds
              And sweat dropped from His brow like rain.

              A crown of thorns was on His head,
              The bitter cup He meekly sips;
              His life is ebbing fast away,
              A prayer upon His blessed lips.

              No mercy found He anywhere,
              He said, "My Father knoweth best."
              A little bird came fluttering down
              And hovered near his bleeding breast.

              It fanned His brow with gentle wings,
              Into the cup it dipped its beak;
              And gazed in pity while He hung
              And bore His pain so calm and meek.

              At last the bird it flew away
              And sought the shelter of its nest;
              Its feathers dyed with crimson stain,
              The Savior's blood upon its breast.

              The lowly robin, so 'tis said,
              That comes to us in early spring,
              Is that which hovered near the cross
              And wears for aye that crimson stain.

                                         --Martha Creech

                             JENNIE WYLIE

Thomas Wiley, husband of Jennie Sellards Wylie, was a native of Ireland.
They lived on Walker's Creek in what is now Tazewell County, Virginia.
She was captured by the Indians in 1790. Her son Adam was sometimes
called Adam Pre Vard Wiley.

              Among the hills of old Kentucky,
              When homes were scarce and settlers few,
              There lived a man named Thomas Wylie,
              His wife and little children two.

              They left their home in old Virginia,
              This youthful pair so brave and strong.
              And built a cabin in the valley
              Where fair Big Sandy flows along.

              Poor Thomas left his home one morning,
              He kissed his wife and children dear;
              He little knew that prowling Indians
              Around his home were lurking near.

              They waited in the silent woodland
              Till came the early shades of night;
              Poor Jennie and her young brother
              Were seated by the fireside bright.

              They peeped inside the little cabin
              And saw the children sleeping there.
              These helpless ones were unprotected
              And Jennie looked so white and fair.

              They came with tomahawks uplifted
              And gave the war whoop fierce and wild;
              Poor Jennie snatched her nursing baby;
              They killed her brother--her oldest child.

              They took poor Jennie through the forest
              And while they laughed in fiendish glee,
              A redskin took the baby from her
              And dashed out its brains against a tree.

              They traveled down the Sandy valley
              Until they reached Ohio's shore;
              They told poor Jennie she would never
              See home or husband any more.

              For two long years they kept her captive,
              And one dark night she stole away,
              And many miles she put behind her
              Before the dawning of the day.

              Straight for home the brave woman headed
              As on her trail the redskins came;
              The creek down which she fled before them
              To this day bears poor Jennie's name.

              She reached the waters of Big Sandy
              And plunged within the swollen tide.
              The thriving little town of Auxier
              Now stands upon the other side.

              Her husband welcomed her, though bearing
              A child sired by an Indian bold;
              He proudly claimed the stalwart Adam,
              Whose blood descendants are untold.

                                         --Luke Burchett

                           MOUNTAIN PREACHER

       When the Sabbath day is dawning in the mountains,
       And the air is filled with bird song sweet and clear,
       Once again I think of him who lives in spirit,
       Though his voice has silent been for many a year.

       And the music of the simple prayer he uttered
       Seems to echo from the highest mountain peak,
       And the people still respect the holy teaching
       Of that mountain preacher, Zepheniah Meek.

       I can see him there upon the wooded hillside,
       While between two giant Trees of Heaven he stood,
       And the blue skies formed a canopy above them,
       As befitting one so humble, wise and good.

       And he reads of how the Tree of Life is blooming,
       From the thumbworn leaves of God's own book of love,
       While the wind sweeps gently through the Trees of Heaven
       And they seem to whisper softly up above.

       Oh, your name still lives among Big Sandy's people,
       Though your earthly form is molding 'neath the sod;
       May your memory linger in their hearts forever,
       While your spirit rests in peace at home with God.

                                                   --D. Preston

                        CHURCH IN THE MOUNTAINS

This was composed by a little girl in Rowan County, Kentucky, after she
had been to church in the mountains on Christy Creek in that county in

               Have you been to church in the mountains?
               'Tis a wonderful place to go,
               Out beneath the spreading branches
               Where the grass and violets grow.

               Hats hang around on the trunks,
               Coats lay across the limbs,
               No roof above but heaven,
               They sing the good old hymns.

               So they pray and preach together
               And sing in one accord,
               My heart within rejoices
               To hear them praise the Lord.

               Though seats are rough, uneven,
               And they lay upon the sod,
               There can be no fault in the building,
               For the Architect is God.

               Through years--it's been a custom
               That prayer should first be made,
               And then the others follow,
               Their praises ring in wood and glade.

               There in the temple of temples,
               They tell of the glory land,
               While they beg the many sinners
               To take a better stand.

               They beg the sinners to listen
               As they explain God's love,
               Telling of home that's waiting
               In the mansions up above.

               Still praising God, the Father,
               Who gave His only Son,
               The meeting service closes
               Just as it had begun.

                                        --Jessie Stewart

                            MOUNTAIN DOCTOR

This ballad was composed and set to tune by Jilson Setters, the Singin'
Fiddler of Lost Hope Hollow, who can neither read nor write, yet who has
composed and set to tune more than one hundred ballads, some of which
the late Dr. Kittredge of Harvard declared "will live as classics."

      A very kindly doctor, a friend, I quite well know,
      He owned a mighty scope of land, some eighty year ago.
      The doctor had an old-time house, built from logs and clay,
      A double crib of roughhewn logs, it was built to stay.

      The doctor he would fish and hunt,
      He would bring in bear and deer;
      He was content and happy in his home
      with his loved ones always near.

      The doctor owned a faithful horse,
      He rode him night and day;
      He had nothing but a bridle path
      To guide him on his way.

      The panther was his dreadful foe,
      It often lingered near;
      The doctor always went well armed,
      He seemed to have no fear.

      He made himself a nice warm coat
      From the pelt of a brown woolly bear;
      Often I loved to trace its length
      With eager hands through shaggy hair.

      The forepaws fitted round his wrists,
      The hind parts reached to his thighs,
      And of the head he made a cap
      That sheltered both his ears and eyes.

      The doctor dearly loved the woods,
      He was raised there from a child;
      He was very fond of old-time ways,
      If you scoffed them, he would chide.

      He was good and sympathetic,
      He traveled night and day;
      He doctored many people,
      Regardless of the pay.

      Nels Tatum Rice was his name,
      He was known for miles around;
      Far beyond the county seat,
      'Long the Big Sandy up and down.

      His mother wove his winter clothes,
      As a boy he'd case their furs;
      With them to the county seat,
      But once a year he'd go.

      The merchant he would buy the fur,
      It gladdened the boy's heart.
      He had money in his jeans,
      When for home he did start.

      Boys, them days was full of glee,
      Both husky, fat and strong.
      Nels very soon retraced his steps,
      It didn't take him long.

      Safely, of home once more in sight,
      The boy quite glad did feel.
      For he could hear old Shep dog bark,
      Hear the hum of the spinning wheel.

                                                 --Jilson Setters

                            MOUNTAIN WOMAN

              'Tain't no use a-sittin' here
                And peerin' at the sun,
              A-wishin' I had purty things,
                Afore my work is done.
              I best had bug the taters
                And fetch water from the run
              And save my time fer wishin'
                When all my work is done.

              Paw heerd the squirrels a-barkin'
                This morning on the hill,
              And taken him his rifle-gun
                And tonic fer his chill.
              Menfolks ain't got no larnin'
                And have no time to fill;
              Paw spends his days in huntin'
                Or putterin' round his still.

              "'Tain't no use complainin'"
                Is the song the wood thrush sings,
              And I don't know of nothin'
                That's as sweet as what he brings.
              But I best had comb my honey
                And churn that sour cream,
              And listen to the wood thrush
                When I ketch time to dream.

              Sometimes I feel so happy
                As I hoe the sproutin' corn;
              To hear, far off upon the ridge,
                The call of Paw's cow horn.
              Then I know it's time for milkin'
                And my long day's work is through,
              And I kin sit upon the stoop
                And make my dreams come true.

              I'll dream me a wish fer a shiney new hoe,
              And some dishes, an ax and a saw:
              And a calico shroud with a ribbon and bow
              And a new houn' dawg fer Paw.

                                   --John W. Preble, Jr.

                              WOMAN'S WAY

        You like this Circle Star quilt, Miss, you say:
        I have a favorance for this Flower Bed bright and fair;
        I made it when my heart was light and gay.
        Like me, it's much the worse for time and wear.
        I used it first upon my marriage bed--
        And last, when Thomas, my poor man, lay dead.

        This Nine Patch that is spread across my bed,
        My Emmy made it in her thirteenth year;
        I meant for her to claim it when she wed--
        Excuse me, Miss, I couldn't help that tear.
        She sewed her wedding dress so fine and proud--
        Before the day, we used it for her shroud.

        That Double Wedding Ring? poor Granny Day,
        Before I married Tom, made that for me.
        A thrifty wife, I used to hear her say,
        Has kiverlids that all who come may see.
        She rests there on the knoll f'nenst the rise--
        The little grave is where my youngest lies.

        Dove at the Window was my mother's make,
        Toad in a Puddle is the oldest one,
        Old Maid's Ramble and The Lady of the Lake
        I made for Ned, my oldest son.
        Hearts and Gizzards make me think of Grandpap Day.
        "Like Joseph's coat of many colors, Ma," he'd say.

        The Snow Ball and the Rose are sister's make,
        She lived in Lost Hope Hollow acrost yon hill,
        Poor Jane, she might have had her pick of beaux,
        She sits alone because it was her will.
        A wife she never would consent to be,
        For Jane, she loved the man that favored me.

                                                --Martha Creech

                           MOUNTAIN SINGERS

            What song is this across the mountain side,
            Where every leaf bears elements of Him
            Who is all music? Silences abide
            With rock and stone. A conscious seraphim
            Directs the measure, when the need of song
            Arrives to set the spirit free again.
            The Mountain Singers, traipsin' along
            To woody trail and a cabin in the rain,
            Bring native music fit to cut apart
            Old enemies with gunshot for the heart.
            With Singin' Gatherin' and Infare still intact,
            The Mountain Singers make of ghost, a fact.

                                       --Rachel Mack Wilson


                          THE ASHLAND TRAGEDY

              One Christmas morn in eighty-one,
              Ashland, that quiet burg,
              Was startled--the day had not yet dawned--
              When the cry of fire was heard.

              For well they knew two fair ladies
              Had there retired to bed.
              The startled crowd broke in, alas,
              To find the girls both dead.

              And from the hissing, seething flames
              Three bodies did rescue;
              Poor Emma's and poor Fannie's both,
              And likewise Bobby's too.

              And then like Rachel cried of old
              The bravest hearts gave vent,
              And all that blessed holiday
              To Heaven their prayers were sent.

              Autopsy by the doctors show'd
              The vilest of all sin,
              And proved to all beyond a doubt
              Their skulls had been drove in.

              And other crimes too vile to name;
              I'll tell it if I must;
              A crime that shocks all common sense,
              A greed of hellish lust.

              An ax and crowbar there was found
              Besmeared with blood and hair,
              Which proved conclusively to all
              What had transpired there.

              Two virgin ladies of fourteen,
              The flower of that town,
              With all their beauty and fond hopes,
              By demons there cut down--

              Just blooming into womanhood,
              So lovely and so true;
              Bright hopes of long and happy days
              With morals just and pure.

              Then Marshal Heflin sallied forth,
              Was scarcely known to fail,
              And in ten days had the assassins
              All safely placed in jail.

              George Ellis, William Neal and Craft,
              Some were Kentucky's sons,
              Near neighbors to the Gibbons' house
              And were the guilty ones.

              In this here dark and bloody ground
              They were true types indeed,
              Of many demons dead and dam'd
              Who fostered that same greed.

              A hellish greed of lust to blast
              The virtuous and fair,
              To gratify that vain desire
              No human life would spare.

              There Emma Thomas lay in gore,
              A frightful sight to view;
              Poor Fanny Gibbons in a crisp,
              And Bob, her brother, too.

              Bob was a poor lame crippled boy,
              Beloved by everyone;
              His mother's hope, his sister's joy,
              A kind, obedient son.

              At that dread sight the mother's grief
              No mortal tongue can tell.
              A broken heart, an addled brain,
              When all should have been well.

              Both her dear children lying there,
              Who once so merry laughed.
              There stiff and stark in death they lay,
              Cut down by Ellis Craft.

              That dreadful demon, imp of hell,
              Consider well his crime;
              Although he was a preacher's son,
              Has blackened the foot of time.

                                  --Peyton Buckner Byrne

This ballad was composed by Peyton Buckner Byrne of Greenup, Greenup
County, Kentucky. He is in error in writing the name of Emma Thomas; the
murdered girl's name was Emma Carico. The tragedy occurred in the early
'80's in the mill town of Ashland, Boyd County, Kentucky, which adjoins
Greenup County. The town of Greenup was formerly called Hangtown because
of the many hangings which occurred there in the days of the Civil War.
Peyton Buckner Byrne was a schoolteacher in that County and one of his
scholars, Miss Tennessee Smith, supplied this copy of the old
schoolteacher's ballad. Ellis Craft is buried on Bear Creek in Boyd
County, not far from Ashland where he committed the crime.

                        THE MORAL OF THE BALLAD

                There's a sad moral to this tale.
                Now pass the word around;
                Pull off your shoes now and walk light;
                Ashland is holy ground.

                Bill Neal he came from Virginia,
                A grand and noble State,
                But his associates were bad
                And he has shared their fate.

                Bill Neal he saw Miss Emma Thomas,
                So beautiful and fair
                That all his hellish greed of lust
                Seemed to be centered there.

                Bill Neal he was a married man,
                Had children and a wife;
                And ofttimes bragged what he would do,
                If it should cost his life.

                Bill Neal done what he said he would,
                And yet a greater sin;
                Then with a great big huge crowbar
                Broke Emma's skullbones in.

                Yes, Bill Neal done just what he said,
                And yet that greater sin,
                For which the gates of Heaven closed
                And will not let him in.

                Now while his victim is in Heaven,
                Where all things are done well,
                There with the angels glorified,
                Bill Neal will go to hell.

                       THE DEATH OF MARY PHAGAN

Leo M. Frank, manager of the pencil factory, was a Jew. Sentiment ran
high against him at the time of the murder. This ballad was composed by
young Bob Salyers of Cartersville, Georgia, who heard the story on all
sides. He could neither read nor write.

                   Come listen all ye maidens,
                   A story I'll relate
                   Of pretty Mary Phagan
                   And how she met her fate.

                   Her home was in Atlanta
                   And so the people say,
                   She worked in a pencil factory
                   To earn her meager pay.

                   She went down to the office
                   One April day, it's said;
                   The next time that they saw her,
                   Poor Mary, she was dead.

                   They found her outraged body--
                   Oh, hear the people cry--
                   "The fiend that murdered Mary
                   Most surely he must die."

                   James Conley told the story,
                   "'Twas Leo Frank," he said,
                   "He strangled little Mary
                   And left her cold and dead."

                   Now Frank was tried for murder,
                   His guilt he did deny.
                   But the jury found him guilty
                   And sentenced him to die.

                   His life he paid as forfeit;
                   And then there came a time
                   Another man lay dying,
                   And said he did the crime.

                   We do not know for certain,
                   But in the Judgment Day,
                   We know that God will find him
                   And surely make him pay.

                                      --Bob Salyers


              Oh, hearken to this sad warning,
              You husbands who love your wife,
              Don't never fly in a passion
              And take your companion's life.

              Of Doctor Rich Duke I will tell you,
              Who lived up Beaver Creek way,
              He married fair Effie Allen
              And loved her well, so they say.

              Both Effie and Rich had money,
              But he was much older than she,
              And she said, "All your lands and money
              Should be deeded over to me."

              His wife he loved and trusted
              And he hastened to obey;
              But the fact he soon regretted
              That he deeded his riches away.

              They quarreled and then they parted,
              The times were more than three,
              For both of them were stubborn
              And they never could agree.

              Now Doctor John, his brother,
              Was a highly respected man,
              He brought Effie home one evening,
              Saying, "Make up your quarrel if you can."

              And Rich seemed glad to see her,
              And followed her up the stair,
              But only God and the angels
              Know just what happened there.

              Doctor John was down at the table
              When he heard the pistol roar;
              He ran up the stairs in a moment
              And looked in at the open door.

              Poor Rich lay there by his pistol
              With a bullet through his brain,
              And Effie lay there dying
              Writhing in mortal pain.

              They were past all human succor,
              No earthly power could save;
              And they took their secrets with them
              To the land beyond the grave.

              Now all you wives and husbands,
              Take heed to this warning true.
              Never quarrel over lands and money
              Or some day the fact you will rue.

                                          --Coby Preston

                       THE FATE OF FLOYD COLLINS

This ballad was composed in 1925 by Jilson Setters, when Floyd Collins
was trapped in a salt mine near Mammoth Cave, Kentucky.

               Come all you friends and neighbors
               And listen to what I say,
               I'll relate to you a story,
               Of a man who passed away.
               He struggled hard for freedom,
               His heart was true and brave,
               While his comrades they were toiling
               His precious life to save.

               His name was Floyd Collins,
               Exploring he did crave.
               But he never dreamed that he'd be trapped
               In a lonely sandstone cave.
               His entrance it was easy,
               His heart was light and gay,
               But his mind was filled with trouble
               When he found he'd lost his way.

               He wandered through the cavern,
               He knew not where to go,
               He knew he was imprisoned,
               His heart was full of woe.
               He started for the entrance
               That he had passed that day.
               A large and mighty boulder
               Had slipped down in his way.

               The stone was slowly creeping
               But that he did not know,
               Underneath he found an opening
               He thought that he could go.
               He soon got tired and worried,
               He soon then had to rest,
               The boulder still was creeping,
               It was tightening on his chest.

               He lost all hopes of freedom,
               No farther could he go;
               His agony was desperate,
               That you all well know.
               His weeping parents lingered near;
               A mother gray and old.
               Soon poor Floyd passed away
               And heaven claimed his soul.

               A note was in his pocket,
               The neighbors chanced to find;
               These few lines were written
               While he had strength and mind:
               "Give this note to mother,
               Tell her not to cry;
               Tell her not to wait for me,
               I will meet her by and by."

                                        --Jilson Setters

This ballad was written by fifty-year-old Adam Crisp who lived in
Fletcher, North Carolina, at the time of Collins' death. Crisp could
neither read nor write but composed many ballads.

                          FLOYD COLLINS' FATE

                   Come all you young people
                   And listen to what I tell:
                   The fate of Floyd Collins,
                   Alas, we all know well.
                   His face was fair and handsome,
                   His heart was true and brave,
                   His body now lies sleeping
                   In a lonely sandstone cave.

                   How sad, how sad the story,
                   It fills our eyes with tears,
                   His memory will linger
                   For many, many a year.
                   His broken-hearted father
                   Who tried his boy to save
                   Will now weep tears of sorrow
                   At the door of Floyd's cave.

                   Oh, mother, don't you worry,
                   Dear father, don't be sad;
                   I'll tell you all my troubles
                   In an awful dream I had;
                   I dreamed that I was prisoner,
                   My life could not be saved,
                   I cried, "Oh! must I perish,
                   Within the silent cave?"

                   The rescue party gathered,
                   They labored night and day
                   To move the mighty boulder
                   That stood within the way.
                   "To rescue Floyd Collins!"
                   This was the battlecry.
                   "We will never, no, we will never
                   Let Floyd Collins die."

                   But on that fatal morning
                   The sun rose in the sky,
                   The workers still were busy,
                   "We will save him by and by."
                   But, oh, how sad the evening,
                   His life they could not save,
                   His body then was sleeping
                   Within the lonely cave.

                   Young people all take warning
                   With this, for you and I,
                   We may not be like Collins,
                   But you and I must die.
                   It may not be in a sand cave
                   In which we find our tomb,
                   But at that mighty judgment
                   We soon will find our doom.

                                        --Adam Crisp


                     IT'S GREAT TO BE AN AMERICAN

For long years the members of the Hamm family in Rowan County, Kentucky,
both old and young, have gathered on a Sunday in the month of August for
their mountain Eisteddfod. Upon this occasion there is friendly rivalry
as to whose ballad or poem is best, who speaks his composition best. And
the prize, you may be sure, is not silver but a book of poems. This
composition of Nannie Hamm Carter was read at their mountain Eisteddfod
in August, 1940.

             It's great to be an American,
             And live on peaceful shores,
             Where we hear not the sound of marching feet,
             And the war-clouds come no more.
             Where the Statue of Liberty ever stands,
             A beacon of hope for all,
             Heralding forth to every land
             That by it we stand or fall.

             It's great to be an American,
             For wherever we may go,
             It is an emblem of truth and right,
             A challenge to every foe.
             It's great to be free and unfettered,
             And know not wars or strife,
             Where man to man united,
             Can live a carefree life,

             While men are falling hour by hour
             Upon some foreign shore
             Amidst the roar of battle there,
             Ne'er to return no more.
             They're offered as a sacrifice,
             Upon the altar there,
             With no one there to sympathize,
             Or shed for them a tear.

             Where men are marching 'mid the strife,
             Where there, day after day,
             There's danger and there's loss of life
             Where conquerors hold sway.
             They bow to rulers' stern commands,
             They face the deadly foe,
             While far away in other lands,
             There's sorrow, pain and woe.

             But not so in America,
             The birthplace of the free.
             For 'midst the conflict Over There,
             With loss of life and liberty,
             It's a privilege to know,
             That in a world, so fraught with pain,
             We feel secure from every foe
             Where naught but fellowship remains.

             For in our free country,
             We hear not the battlecry,
             We hear not the bugle's solemn call,
             When men go forth to die.
             For over all this land of ours
             The Stars and Stripes still wave,
             Waving forth in triumph
             O'er this homeland of the brave.

             Hats off! to our own America,
             With pride we now can say,
             We bow not down to rulers,
             For justice still holds sway.
             God keep us free from scenes like those
             That are in other lands,
             Where the shell-shocked and the wounded
             Are there on every hand.

             So, it's great to be an American,
             We'll stand by our flag always,
             For right shall not perish from the earth
             As long as truth holds sway;
             As long as her sons are united
             In a cause that's just and true,
             The bells of freedom still will ring,
             Ring out for me and you.

                                      --Nannie Hamm Carter

                            SAD LONDON TOWN

Jilson Setters composed and set to tune this ballad and sang it at the
American Folk Song Festival in June, 1941, to the delight of a vast
audience. To the surprise of some he pronounces the word bomb, _bum_,
like his early English ancestors.

                 Eight years ago I took a trip,
                 I decided to cross the sea;
                 I spent some weeks in London,
                 Everything was strange to me.

                 The city then was perfect peace,
                 They had no thought of fear,
                 Soon then the bombs began to fall,
                 The airplanes hovered near.

                 The people cannot rest at night,
                 Danger lingers nigh,
                 Bombs have dropped on many homes,
                 The innocent had to die.

                 The flying glass cut off their heads,
                 Their hands and noses too;
                 Folks then had to stand their ground,
                 There was nothing else to do.

                 English folks are brave and true,
                 But do not want to fight.
                 The Germans slip into their town
                 And bomb their homes at night.

                 They watch the palace of the King,
                 They watch it night and day;
                 They have a strong and daring guard
                 To keep the foe at bay.

                                      --Jilson Setters

The aged fiddler also composed and set to tune the following ballad

                          BUNDLES FOR BRITAIN

                Two little children toiled along
                A steep and lonely mountain road,
                They heeded not the bitter cold
                But proudly bore their precious load.

                I asked them where they might be bound
                And what their heavy load might be.
                They said, "We're going to the town
                To send our load across the sea.

                "For, far away on England's shore,
                Our own blood kin still live, you know;
                They fight to stay the tyrant's hand
                That threatens freedom to o'erthrow.

                "And many little homeless ones
                Are cold and hungry there today,
                'Tis them we seek to feed and clothe
                And every night for them we pray.

                "Some of them reach our own dear land,
                While others perish in the sea;
                And we must help and comfort them
                Until their land from war is free."

                Oh, may we like these children face
                The curse of hate and war's alarm
                With faith and courage in our hearts
                And Britain's Bundles 'neath our arms.

                                       --Jilson Setters

                             SERGEANT YORK

His own favorite ballad, however, is that which he composed and set to
tune several years ago about Sergeant Alvin C. York, who is Jilson
Setters' idea of "a mountain man without nary flaw."

   'Way down in Fentress County in the hills of Tennessee
   Lived Alvin York, a simple country lad.
   He spent his happy childhood with his brothers on the farm,
   Or at the blacksmith shop with busy dad.

   He could play a hand of poker, hold his liquor like a man,
   He did his share of prankin' in his youth;
   But his dying father left him with the family in his care,
   And he quickly sought the ways of God and truth.

   Then came the mighty World War in the year of seventeen,
   And Uncle Sam sent out his call for men.
   Poor Alvin's heart was heavy for he knew that he must go,
   And his Church contended "fighting was a sin."

   He never questioned orders and did the best he could,
   And soon a corporal he came to be;
   He was known throughout the country as the army's fighting ace,
   Beloved in every branch of infantry.

   The eighth day of October the Argonne battle raged,
   Machine guns whined and rifle bullets flew;
   Then Alvin lost his temper, he said, "I've had enough,
   I'll show these Huns what Uncle Sam can do."

   He took his army rifle and his automatic too,
   And hid himself behind a nearby tree;
   He shot them like he used to shoot the rabbits and the squirrels
   Away back home in sunny Tennessee.

   He took the whole battalion--one-hundred-thirty-two--
   While thirty-five machine guns ceased to fire;
   And twenty German soldiers lay lifeless on the ground
   As he marched his prisoners through the bloody mire.

   His name was not forgotten, a hero brave was he,
   Our country proudly hailed his fearless deeds;
   He was offered fame and fortune but for these he did not care,
   His daily toil supplied his simple needs.

   "I want nothing for myself" he said, "but for the boys and girls,
   Who live here in the hills of Tennessee,
   I'd like to have a school for them to teach them how to farm
   And raise their families in security."

   His wish was quickly granted. At Jamestown, Tennessee,
   There stands a school, the mountains' joy and pride;
   And with his wife and children in the hills he loves so well,
   He hopes in peace forever to abide.

                                                    --Jilson Setters

A Tennessee mountaineer, who is proud of his "wight of learning"
according to his own words, "put together" this ballad which he calls--

                              NORRIS DAM

                At Norris Dam, our Uncle Sam
                Has wrought a mighty deed.
                He built a dam, did Uncle Sam,
                So "all who run may read."

                He saw the "writing on the wall"--
                Called the soothsayers in.
                Soothsayers all, both great and small
                Said, "It would be a sin--

                "To let the things God wrought for man
                Stand idle all the years.
                But use God's knowledge (in a can),
                Soothsaying engineers."

                And so, this miracle today
                You see with your own eyes,
                Was planned ten million miles away--
                In "mansions in the skies."

                That pigeonhole is empty there;
                Now we employ that plan
                For use and pleasure, down here, where
                'Twill be a boon to man.

                So day by day in every way,
                At least we're getting wise;
                And now we play--as well we may--
                On playgrounds from the skies.

                So let us give a rousing cheer
                For our dear Uncle Sam,
                Whose mighty arm reached way up there
                And brought down Norris Dam.

                                    --George A. Barker

                         THE DOWNFALL OF PARIS

               Oh, come all ye proud and haughty people,
               Behold a nation plunged in gloom,
               A country filled with pain and sorrow
               Since that great city met its doom.

               They had no thought of this disaster;
               The Maginot Line could never fail.
               Then came the downfall of proud Paris;
               Oh, hear the people mourn and wail.

               Oh, see the horror and destruction,
               When death came flying through the air.
               The people vainly sought a refuge;
               Oh, friends, take warning and beware.

               They hear the sound of alien footsteps,
               The soldiers marching side by side
               Among the ruins of that great city,
               A mighty nation's boast and pride.

               Oh, let us then be wise and careful,
               And strive to keep our country free;
               For war is cruel to the helpless,
               The weak must pay the penalty.

               God help the rulers of the nations!
               What is in store, no tongue can tell;
               But keep in mind the simple story--
               The Line was broke and Paris fell.

                                          --Coby Preston

                     9. RECLAIMING THE WILDERNESS

                           VANISHING FEUDIST

There are people all over the United States to whom the mere mention of
the word mountaineer evokes a fantastic picture--a whiskey-soaked
ruffian with bloodshot eyes and tobacco-stained beard, wide-brimmed felt
cocked over a half-cynical eye, finger on the trigger of a long-barreled
squirrel rifle. He is guarding his moonshine still. Or he may be lying
in wait behind bush or tree to waylay his deadly enemy of the other side
in a long-fought blood-feud.

Though there may be a semblance of truth in both, such pictures should
be taken with a grain of salt. Illicit whiskey has been made in our
southern mountains, as well as in towns and cities throughout the
country. There were blood-feuds in bygone days but they have been so
overplayed that scarcely a vestige of the real story remains
recognizable. Few of the old leaders are left to tell the facts.

I have known well and claim as my loyal friends members of families who
have been engaged in the making of illicit whiskey. I have known quite
well many members of families on both sides in two of the most famous
feuds in the southern mountains. These people were and are today my good
friends and neighbors.

As recently as the fall of 1940, I returned to Morehead, the county seat
of Rowan County, for a visit with the Martins and Tollivers. Strangely
enough, upon the day of my arrival I found Lin Martin, son of John
Martin, who killed Floyd Tolliver, up on a ladder painting the walls of
the Cozy Theatre. This modern motion-picture theater occupies the site
of the old Carey House where Martin shot Tolliver. Lin was standing in
almost the exact spot where his father stood when he shot Floyd
Tolliver. Most willingly he stepped out into the sunlight, paint brush
and bucket in hand to meet and be photographed with Clint Tolliver, a
son and nephew of the Tolliver leaders, whose father, Bud, was killed by
the posse in the all-day battle on Railroad Street when the Tolliver
band was wiped out. Clint was a nephew of Floyd Tolliver, slain by John
Martin; he married Mrs. Lucy Trumbo Martin's niece, Texannie Trumbo.

While the men shook hands in friendly fashion, believe it or not, across
the street in the courthouse yard under a great oak, past which John
Martin was hurried to the safety of the jail, a blind fiddler was
singing the famous ballad composed by a Rowan County minstrel, called
the Rowan County Troubles. The sons of the feudists smiled blandly.
Clint Tolliver is a Spanish American War veteran and Lin's brother, Ben,
was a sharpshooter in the World War.

Both Lin Martin and Clint Tolliver say they have but one regret today
and that is that they are too old to take up their guns to enlist in the
United States Army. The men and their families are the best of friends
and meet often at social gatherings.

So feuds die out, though feud tales persist. Old rancors live only in

Today in Morehead, the county seat of the once Dark Rowan, there stands
a modern State Teachers College on the sloping hillsides within sight of
the courthouse and street where the Rowan County war was fought. One of
the halls is called Allie W. Young, taking its name from the Senator
whose influence brought about the establishment of the college. Young's
father, Judge Zachariah Taylor Young, was once shot from ambush during
the troubles.

This same county is the seat of a native art exhibit which has attracted
nation-wide attention. It was started many years ago by a descendant of
Mary Queen of Scots, Mrs. Lyda Messer Caudill, then a teacher of a
one-room log school on Christy Creek. One morning a little boy living at
the head of the hollow brought to school, not a rosy apple (there wasn't
a fruit tree on his place), but clay models he had made in native clay
of his dog, the cow, and his pet pig. Mrs. Caudill seized the
opportunity to encourage the other children in her mixed-grade one-room
school to try their hand at clay modeling. Later Mrs. Caudill became
county superintendent of Rowan County Schools. Through her enthusiasm
and efforts the plan has developed through the years and today mountain
children of Rowan County have exhibited their handicraft in national
exhibitions through the co-operation of the group of American
Association of University Women of Kentucky with which Mrs. Caudill is

                          SILVER MOON TAVERN

Over on Main Island Creek in Logan County, West Virginia, where Devil
Anse Hatfield held forth in his day, another picture greets the eye
today. Coal-mining camps are strung along from one end of the creek to
the other. Omar, near where Devil Anse is buried, is quite a thriving
town. It was here that Jonse, the eldest son who loved Rosanna McCoy,
spent his last days as a night watchman for a power plant. Jonse's
nerves were so shattered he jumped almost at the falling of a leaf and
the company, fearing some tragedy might be the result from too sudden
trigger-pulling, found other occupation for the Hatfield son.

Within a few yards of the spot where the home of Devil Anse burned to
the ground stands today a rustic lodge garishly designed. Over the
doorway painted in bright red letters are these words--

                          SILVER MOON TAVERN

Neighbors call it a beer j'int. Entering, you are greeted by the
proprietor, a mild, pleasant fellow who asks in a slow mountain drawl,
"What kin I do for you?" If you happen to be an old acquaintance as I
am, Tennis Hatfield--for he it is who runs the place--will add, "Glad to
see you. I've not laid eyes on you for a coon's age. Set." He waved me
to a chromium stool beside the counter. "I've quit the law." Tennis had
been sheriff of Logan County for a term or two. "This is easier." He
flung wide his hands with a gesture that encompassed the interior of the
Silver Moon Tavern. "Well, there's no harm in selling beer." He fixed me
with a piercing look such as I had seen in the eye of Devil Anse.
"What's more there's no harm in drinking it either, in reason. Young
folks gather in here of a night and listen to the music and dance and it
don't cost 'em much money. A nickel in the slot. We ain't troubled with
slugs," he said casually. "The folks choose their own tune." He pointed
to a gaudily striped electric music box that filled a corner of the
tavern. With great care he showed me the workings of the moan box, he
called it. "These are the tunes they like best." He called them off as
his finger moved carefully along the titles: "Big Beaver, The Wise Owl,
Double Crossing Mamma, In the Mood, and Mountain Dew. They just
naturally wear that record out. Young folks here on Main Island Creek
like Lulu Belle and Scotty. See, they made that record Mountain Dew." A
slow smile lighted his face. "'Pon my soul all that young folks do these
days is eat and dance. That's how come me to put the sign on the side of
my beer j'int--Dine and Dance. We're right up to snuff here on Main
Island Creek," he added with a smug smile. "But now Joe Hatfield over to
Red Jacket in Mingo County, he follows preaching and he says a beer
j'int is just sending people plum to hell. I don't know about that.
There's never been no trouble here in my place. I won't sell a man
that's had a dram too many. And if he starts to get noisy"--he lifted a
toe--"out he goes! I aim to keep my place straight." He shoved his
thumbs deep into the belt of his breeches. "Not much doin' at this time
of day. The girls in school or helping with the housework; the boys in
the mines. Don't step out till after supper. Then look out! The young
bucks shake a heel and the girls put on their lipstick. Them that can't
afford a permanent go around all day with their hair done up in
curlycues till they look a match for Shirley Temple by the time they get
here of a night. Times has surely changed."

A bus whizzed by and disappeared beyond the bend of the road.

"Times has changed," Tennis repeated slowly as his gaze sought the
hillside where Devil Anse lay buried. "I wonder what Pa would a-thought
of my place," he said with conscientious wistfulness. His eyes swept now
the interior of the Silver Moon Tavern. "This couldn't a-been in Pa's
young days. Nor womenfolks couldn't a-been so free. Such as this
couldn't a-been, no more than their ways then could stand today." The
son of Devil Anse leaned over the bar and said in a strangely hushed
voice, "Woman, I've heard tell that you have a hankerin' for curiosities
and old-timey things. I keep a few handy so's I don't get above my
raisin'." He reached under the counter. "Here, woman, heft this!" He
placed in my hands Devil Anse's long-barreled gun. "Scrutinize them
notches on the barrel. That there first one is Harmon McCoy. Year of
sixty-three," he said bluntly.

While I hefted the gun, Tennis brought out a crumpled shirt. "Them holes
is where the McCoys stobbed Uncle Ellison and there's the stain of his

The gruesome sight of the blood-stained garment slashed by the McCoys
completely unnerved me. I dropped the gun.

Instantly a door opened behind Tennis and a young lad rushed in. He took
in the situation at a glance and swiftly appraised my five-foot height.
"Pa," he turned to Tennis Hatfield, "you've scared this little critter
out of a year's growth. And she ain't got none to spare."

Seeing that all was well he backed out of the door he had entered, and
Tennis went on to say that his young son had quit college to join the
army. "He'll be leaving soon for training camp. That is, if he can quit
courting Nellie McCoy long enough over in Seldom Seen Hollow. 'Pon my
soul, I never saw two such turtledoves in my life. She's pretty as a
picture and I've told her that whether or not her and Tennis Junior
every marry there's always a place for her here with us. A pretty girl
in a pretty frock is mighty handy to wait table." Again the wideflung
hands of the proprietor of the Silver Moon Tavern embraced in their
gesture the shiny tables, booths, chromium-trimmed chairs, and the gaudy
juke box in the corner.

In September, 1940, Tennis Hatfield's son, Tennis, Jr., joined the army.
He was nineteen at the time.

The Hatfields and McCoys have married. Charles D. Hatfield, who joined
the army at Detroit's United States Army recruiting office, is the son
of Tolbert McCoy Hatfield of Pike County and is friend to his kin on
both sides.

The two families held a picnic reunion in the month of August, 1941, on
Blackberry Creek where the blood of both had been shed during the feud,
and at the gathering a good time was had by all with plenty of fried
chicken and no shooting.

Today on the eve of another war things are still quiet up in Breathitt
County so far as the Hargises are concerned. Elbert Hargis, brother of
Judge Jim Hargis who was slain by his son Beach, has passed on. They
buried him, the last of Granny Hargis's boys, in the family burying
ground behind the old homestead on Pan Bowl, so called because it is
almost completely encircled by the North Fork of the Kentucky River.

To his last hour, almost, Elbert Hargis sat in the shadow of the
courthouse looking sadly toward Judge Jim Hargis's store where Beach had
killed his father, the store in front of which Dr. Cox had been
assassinated. His eyes shifted occasionally toward the courthouse steps
down which the lifeless body of J. B. Marcum plunged when Curt Jett shot
him from the back. Again Elbert's gaze turned to the second-story
windows of the courthouse from which Jim Cockrell had been shot to death
one sunny summer day.

Ever alert and never once permitting anyone to stand behind him, with a
gun in its holster thumping on his hip every step he took, Elbert Hargis
must have lived again and again the days when his brother Jim directed
the carryings-on of the Hargis clan. But if you'd ask him if he ever
thought of the old times, there would be a quick and sharp No!, followed
by abrupt silence.

Elbert Hargis is dead now. And a natural death was his from a sudden
ailment of the lungs. He died in a hospital down in the Blue Grass where
white-clad nurses and grave-faced doctors with a knowing of the miracles
of modern surgery and medicine could not prolong the life of the aged
feudist for one short second. The last of Granny Evaline Hargis's sons
rests beside his mother, alongside the three brothers John, Jr., Ben,
and Jim, and the half-brother Willie Sewell, whose death away back in
1886, when he was shot from ambush at a molasses-making, started all the
trouble. In the same burying ground with Elbert is the vine-covered
grave of Senator Hargis, father of the boys, who preceded his wife
Evaline to the spirit world long years ago.

                            BLOOMING STILLS

A visit today to a United States District Court in most any section of
the Blue Ridge Country where makers of illicit whiskey are being tried
shows that the name moonshine no longer applies to the beverage. It got
its name from being made at night. Now operations in the making are
conducted by day, while only the transportation of the liquor is carried
on after nightfall. Trucks and even dilapidated Fords with the windows
smeared with soap to conceal the load are pressed into service. The
drivers consider it safer to travel with their illegal cargo under the
shades of darkness.

During the questioning of witnesses and offenders in court you learn
that tips provided by law-abiding citizens are the usual means of
bringing offenders to trial. In rare instances, however, members of a
moonshiner's own family have been known to turn him in.

The process of capturing the moonshiner has changed considerably from
that of other days. Then the revenooer (mountain folk usually call him
the law) slipped up from behind the bushes on the offender and caught
him red-handed at the still. In those days the men who were making had
their lookout men who gave warning by a call or a whistle, even by gun
signals, of the approach of the law while the moonshiner took to his
heels, hiding in deep underbrush or far back under cliffs. Today these
mountain men have learned not to run. For the officers of the law are
equipped with long-range guns and with equipment so powerful the bullets
can penetrate the steel body of an automobile. The method of locating
the still has changed too since the airplane has come into use. Looking
down from the clouds the flyer spies a thin stream of smoke rising from
a wooded ravine. He communicates by radio to his co-workers of the
ground crew, who immediately set out at high speed by automobile to
capture the still.

It is estimated that of the 170,000,000 gallons of liquor consumed in
this country in 1939, at least 35,000,000 were illicit and that for
every legal distillery there are at least one hundred illegal ones. The
southern mountain region has always lent itself admirably to the making
of moonshine and for this reason has been a thorn in the flesh of U. S.
Alcohol Tax Unit. During the year 1939, according to _Life_, it is
estimated that more than 4000 stills were captured in the states of
Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina, and Florida.

However, it is not the moonshiner who reaps the richest revenue from
corn whiskey, which he sells for ninety cents a gallon, but the
bootlegger and others down the line who add on, each in his turn, until
the potent drink reaches a final sale price of ninety cents a quart and
more. The tax on legitimate whiskey is $2.25 a proof gallon which makes
it prohibitive in a community competing with the moonshiner's untaxed

Through the southern mountain region Negroes frequently are employed by
white men operating stills on a large scale, where many boxes are used
for the fermenting mash. The fines and sentences vary with the output
and number of offenses.

The mountaineer, on the other hand, who operates a small still usually
is a poor man. When brought into court he pleads that he cannot haul out
a load of corn over rugged roads miles to a market and compete with a
farmer from the lowlands who is not retarded by bad roads. Or again, if
he is from an extremely isolated mountain section, he offers the old
reasoning, "It is my land and my corn--why can't I do with my crop
whatever I please?"

If the federal judge is a kindly, understanding man he will listen
patiently to the story of the mountaineer who has made illicit whiskey,
and if it be only the first or second offense, a sentence of six months
in prison is imposed. "But, judge, your honor," pleads the perplexed
mountaineer. "I've got to put in my crop and my old woman is ailin'--she
can't holp none. I've got to lay in foirwood for winter, judge, your
honor, my youngins is too little to holp." Often the understanding judge
replies, "Now, John, you go back home and get your work done up, then
come back and serve your sentence." Rarely has the judge's trust been


What with good roads, the radio, and better schools and more of them the
scene is rapidly changing in the Blue Ridge Country.

The little one-room log school is almost a thing of the past. Only in
remote sections can it be found. No longer is the mountain child
retarded by the bridgeless stream, for good roads have come to the
mountains and with them the catwalk--an improvised bridge of barrel
hoops strung together with cables--spanning the creek has passed. The
mountain mother's warning is heard no longer. "Mind, Johnny, you don't
swing the bridge." Concrete pillars support steel girders that span the
creek high above even the highest flood point. Education soars high in
the southern mountain region. Instead of a few weeks of school there are
months now, and what is more Johnny doesn't walk to school any more. The
county school bus, operated by a careful driver, picks him up almost at
his very door and brings him back safely when school turns out in the
evening. Instead of the poorly lighted one-room school, there is the
consolidated school built of native stone, with many windows and
comfortable desks. If the mountain boy or girl fails to get an education
it is his own fault. There is a central heating system and the teacher,
you may be sure, is a graduate of an accredited college. The _Kentucky
Progress Magazine_ of Winter, 1935, gives a remarkable example of what
is taking place in an educational way in the mountain region:
"Twenty-nine well-equipped, accredited four-year high schools and two
junior colleges now dot the five counties, Lawrence, Johnson, Martin,
Floyd, and Pike ... seven high schools and one junior college have the
highest rating possible, membership in the Southern Association of
Colleges and Secondary Schools.... The advent of surfaced roads has made
successful consolidation possible in many instances."

Preceding the consolidated school an inestimable service has been
rendered the children of the southern highlands by means of the
settlement school. It would be impossible to discuss them all
adequately, but of the outstanding ones of which I have personal
knowledge are: that great institution at Berea, Kentucky, the Hindman
Settlement School in Knott County, Kentucky; the Martha Berry School in
the mountains of Georgia; the agricultural school of Sergeant Alvin C.
York near Jamestown, Tennessee; and the John C. Campbell Folk School at
Brasstown, N. C.

Under efficient guidance mountain boys and girls are taught to preserve
the handicrafts of their forbears, knitting, spinning, weaving, making
of dyes, and even a pastime once indulged in by boys and men--whittling.
Idle whittling has been converted into not only an artistic craft, but a
profitable one. Nowhere in the country is there to be found a finer
collection of whittled figures, ranging from tiny chicks to squirrels,
rabbits, birds, than those made by the mountain youths at the John C.
Campbell Folk School.

Perhaps no greater service is being rendered mountain folk than that
headed by Sergeant York in his agricultural school, because he is of the
mountains and knows well the need of his people.

But even before the settlement school had been thoroughly rooted there
was the Moonlight School of Rowan County, Kentucky, for adult
illiterates. It was a great, a magnificent undertaking by a mountain
woman--Mrs. Cora Wilson Stewart, born in Rowan County. She had been a
teacher in the wretched, poorly lighted one-room log school. Becoming
county superintendent, she set about to lead out of ignorance and
darkness the adult illiterates of her county. Happily she had been
preceded in such an undertaking by a pioneer teacher in rugged Hocking
County, Ohio, in the days of the Civil War. There Miss Kate Smith,
scarcely in her teens, who saw her brothers shoulder their muskets and
march off to the Civil War, took upon herself the task of teaching,
first, a bound boy, an orphan lad bound by the state to a farmer. The
lad later became a stowaway in a covered wagon in which the young
teacher and her parents rode west. This lad in his teens was only one of
many adult illiterates taught by the Ohio woman and her plan proved that
it could be done. That boy, William Wright, became a Judge of the Court
of Appeals.

With book-learning have come many broadening factors in the life of the
southern mountaineer. His sons attend agricultural college, his
daughters are active workers in the 4-H clubs. They return to the
hillside farm to show their mothers how best to can fruit. The boys have
learned how to improve and conserve the soil, how to save forests. The
consolidated school has taught mountain children to mix with others.
They have Girl Scout groups and Boy Scout groups; they learn
self-government under trained leaders.

Above all, book-learning is swiftly wiping out the old suspicions and
superstitions about the medical profession. Time was when there was but
one doctor in all of Leslie County, Kentucky. Mountain mothers relied on
the old midwife; infant mortality was appalling. Then came the Frontier
Nursing School headed by Mrs. Mary Breckinridge. Her work is known
throughout the breadth of the nation. The Frontier Nursing Service has
the support of the leading people of the nation. Debutantes gladly give
up a life of frivolity and ease to become trained in obstetrics and give
their services to helping mountain mothers and babies. Its purpose was
to combat the infant death rate in remote Kentucky mountain sections.
The nurses ride on horseback and visit and care for mountain mothers.
Mrs. Breckinridge herself was a nurse during the World War in France and
went back to the Scottish Highlands--from which her kinsman Alexander
Breckinridge came to settle in the Shenandoah in 1728--where she became
a midwife.

Mountain folk usually are slow to take on new ways. But the wonders
wrought through the Frontier Nursing Service they have "seen with their
own eyes."

Learning has brought about a great change for the better in the life of
the mountain woman. Once we saw her lank, slatternly, meek,
stoic--mother of a dozen or more, obeying with patient fortitude the
will of her man. We saw too the pitiable child-bride marrying perhaps a
man three times her age because he could take care of her. There being
so many in the family Pappy and Mammy were glad to be rid of one of
their flock. Though both pictures were often as overdrawn as that evoked
by a daughter of the Blue Ridge--a whimsical picture of a pretty maid in
full-skirted crinoline with a soft southern accent--moonlight and
honeysuckle, a gallant, goateed colonel paying court to her charm and
beauty while he sips a mint julep. This picture and that of the
snaggle-toothed mountain woman in bedraggled black calico can no more be
taken for fact than that Jesse James is still holding up stagecoaches or
that cowboys in high boots and leather breeches are daily wedding the
rich easterners' daughters who have come West.

There are well-organized centers: weaving centers that market the wares
of mountain women all over the nation; music centers and recreational
centers. Women and their daughters are better dressed and certainly they
give more care to their appearance than the mountain woman did when she
rode to the county seat on court day with a basket of eggs and butter
and ginseng on one arm and a baby on the other.

She still knits and crochets and hooks rugs--not from leavings of the
family's wearing clothes--but from leavings she buys from the mills. She
does not have to take her wares to the county seat--today she stretches
up a clothesline across the front stoop, pins her rugs and lace on the
line, and the passing motorist buys all that her busy hands can make.

The question is often asked: How does the mountain woman regard her
right to vote? Generally she is unconcerned with the vote. But as time
goes on, by reason of the many factors that enter into her new way of
living, she is evidencing more interest, both in the county and state
elections. Strangely enough, though the mountain woman went hesitantly
to the polls, a Kentucky mountain woman, Mrs. Mary Elliott Flanery, of
Elliott County, was the first woman to be elected to the legislature
south of the Mason and Dixon line. She was self-educated and for a
number of years was rural correspondent for newspapers, which experience
perhaps gave her a broad understanding of political matters and the
incentive to enter the field. Hers was a distinctive service to the
commonwealth and particularly to her sisters of the southern highlands,
inasmuch as she was first of her sex to actually voice before a
legislature the problems and needs of the mountain woman.

Today with rural electrification the mountain woman ceases to be a
drudge. She is on a par with her sister of the level land.

She no longer stumbles wearily to the barn after dark with a battered
lantern, its chimney blackened with smoke. She has only to switch on a
light and turn to milking. Or if her household has progressed to dairy
farming, as many of them have, finding the sale of milk to the city
creameries more profitable than raising vegetables, she has only to
attach the electric devices and the cows are milked mechanically. She
sits no more at the churn, one hand gripping the dasher, the other
holding a fretful babe to her breast. Now that unseen juice, or
'lectric, comes along the wire and into the new churn and there! Almost
before you know it there is a plump roll of butter.

The whole family benefits from rural electrification. The youngest girl
of the household is not reminded of the irksome task of cleaning and
filling the lamps, trimming the wicks. What if the single bulb swinging
from the middle of the ceiling is fly-specked! It still gives ample
light for the room. The hazard of the overturned oil lamp and the fear
of burning the house down are gone too. "I'd druther have 'lectric than
a new cookstove or a saddle mare," any mountain woman will tell you.

She is through with the back-breaking battling trough and the washboard.
Her proudest possession and the greatest labor-saving device on the
place is the electric washer. Carefully covered with a clean piece of
bleach, it holds a distinguished place in the corner of the dining room
when not in use. It is the first thing to be exhibited to the visitor.

But whenever progress brings, it likewise takes away.

The fireside gathering where the glowing logs provided light and cheer
for the family circle, conducive to story and riddle and song, has
almost reached the vanishing point. Instead, the young folks pile into
the second-hand Ford and whiz off to town. They don't wait for court
week, when in other days the courthouse yard was the market place of the
hillsman. Though the old courthouse still stands as it did in early
days, the scene has changed. There is one ancient seat of justice in the
Big Sandy country within sight of the spot where the first settlers
built their fort for safety against Indian attack, and over the door
these words catch the eye--


Young folks don't seem to give it much thought. Just across the road (it
is paved now) the raucous sound of the juke box is heard playing I
Understand, Hut Sut, You Are My Sunshine and Booglie, Wooglie, Piggy.
The jitterbugs are at it early and late. They know all the hits on the
Hit Parade. They know Frankie Masters' and Jimmy Dorsey's latest records
and the newest step and shake. If they ever tire, which is rarely, there
are booths and stalls where they may sip a soda, drain a bottle of coke,
crunch a sandwich, a yard-long hot dog, a hamburger. Or, if he is real
sophisticated and she "has been farther under the house hunting eggs
than some have been on the railroad cars," he will cautiously draw his
hip flask, when the waiter or proprietor isn't looking, and pour a snort
of year-old or Granddad in the glass of cracked ice. Sure, you buy your
cracked ice, what do you think this is? "Let's go on to the Rainbow,"
she suggests presently, when only cracked ice is left in the glass.
"Rainbow? You got your rainbow right here in the juke box," he answers.
"I don't mean no rainbow like's on the groan box, and you know it."
Maybe they go, maybe they don't. But things are surely changing along
the once quiet mountain trail. Now if the lad is real devilish he will
try a slug in the juke box instead of a coin. Then the proprietor drops
his beaming smile and asserts his authority. A young stripling or two
may drop in, stagging it. One gets an eye on a pretty girl dancing with
her date. But just let him try to cut in. "Can't you read?" With the
proprietor's husky voice the intruder feels at the same moment the
proprietor's firm hand upon his shoulder. "What's eatin' you? Can't you
read, I say!" The owner of the big voice and bigger fist points a
warning finger to the sign on the wall--

                            NO STAG DANCING

The stag isn't slow in being on his way. He and his pals pile into their
car and head toward the next tavern.

The present generation of mountain youth may have lost their
superstition but they will take a long chance on beating the pinball
machine. They will play it for hours--until the last nickel is dropped
in the slot because, "Yes siree, just last night at the Blue Moon I saw
a fellow get the jackpot. Double handful of coin!"

A mountain girl once ashamed because her granny smoked her little clay
pipe puffs a cigarette nonchalantly held between highly manicured
fingertips. She will spend her last dollar for a permanent and lipstick.
She would not be interested in the simple fireside games, Clap In and
Clap Out, Post Office and Drop the Handkerchief. Such things are far too
slow for her highstrung nerves these days.

However, community centers are trying valiantly to bring back square
dancing and community singing. The effort is successful in some
localities, particularly through North and South Carolina. Old-time
singing school with the itinerant singing master has given place to
singing societies that meet sometimes in the summer months on the
courthouse square or indoors.

Religious customs, too, are becoming modernized. The foot-washing of the
Regular Primitive Baptists, while it is still carried on in some of the
mountain churches, lacks much of the solemnity and imposing dignity of
bygone days. The church house itself is changed, which may account for
much of the modification of customs. The log church is replaced with a
modern structure of native stone. The walls are painted. There is a gas
chandelier suspended from the ceiling. While there is still no
elaborate, elevated pulpit, the floor of the front portion of the church
where the faithful wash each other's feet is today covered with
linoleum. The long spotlessly white towel used for drying the feet of
the meek has given place to a brightly colored green and red striped
bath towel (basement special, or such as are found on the counters of
the five and ten). The singing, instead of being the solemn chant of the
sixth century to which mountain folk for generations adapted the words
of their traditional hymns, is in swift tempo, almost jazz such as can
be heard at any point on your radio dial any day in the week.

The jolt wagon, with its rows of straight hickory chairs, carrying the
whole family to meeting with a well-filled basket with victuals for all,
is a thing of the past. At a recent foot-washing down in the Georgia
mountains there was but one wagon in front of the little church. A
string of automobiles of all sizes and makes was strung along the road
for a mile.

The solemn funeralizing with its simple beauty is almost a thing of the
past in the southern mountains. Today it is accompanied by the barking
of the hot-dog vendor, "Get your hot dogs here. A nice ice cold drink of
Coca-Cola here! Here's your Doctor Pepper! Cold orange drink!"

The decorations on the grave--once paper flowers made by loving
hands--are garish factory-made flowers in cellophane covers. Mother's
picture in the glass-covered box beside her headstone is gone long ago.
The favorite hymn is sometimes sung and a few of the old-time preachers
survive to weep and pray and sing and offer words of praise for the
long-departed friend. The present generation do not speak of the
funeralizing. Today it is a memorial. Strangely enough, however, only a
few miles from the heart of the Big Sandy country, a memorial service
was held for O. O. McIntyre for the second time on August 11, 1940. A
twilight memorial it was called and his good friends and close
associates came to hear him eulogized.

The mountain preacher of yesterday is passing fast. Then, his was a
manifold calling. When he traveled the lonely creek-bed road with his
Bible in his saddlebags, he was the circuit rider bringing news of the
outside world to the families along the widely scattered frontier. He,
like the mountain doctor, was truly counselor and friend. The people
looked to him to tell of things that would be happening in the near
future. They hung upon his every word from the pulpit. His reasoning in
spiritual matters was sound and his eloquence impelling. His sermons
often combined quotations from the early writers of England, passages
from Shakespeare, true echoes of Elizabethan English, as might be
expected considering his ancestry. Words flowed freely from his lips.
The mountain preacher to this day has a natural gift of oratory. It has
been handed down through generations. He needs only the spur and the
occasion to burst forth. The mountain preacher, as some may imagine, was
not always untutored or illiterate--of the type we sometimes encounter
today in remote mountain regions. In early days he was quite often both
preacher and teacher, such as William E. Barton, father of Bruce Barton,
who after preaching in the thinly settled parts of Knox County,
Kentucky, became the pastor of a Chicago church in later years. Some of
the early roving preachers even studied theology in the great centers of
learning both in America and Europe.

At one time, even as late as the last quarter of a century, there were
strait-laced Baptist preachers (my own blood kin among them) who would
not permit an organ in the church. But today it is quite the vogue for
young evangelistic couples to hold forth with piano-accordion and
guitar. "It peps up the joiners," the evangelist says. On the other
hand, in remote churches, where preachers still hold that note-singing
and hymn books with notes are the works of the Devil, these same fellows
will play up the hysteria of the audience with the "Holy Bark," the
"And-ah," "Yep, Yep," and the "Holy Laugh," chiefly at foot-washing

The number of young people, however, who cling to the custom of
foot-washing is comparatively small. One reason may be that they are too
busy with other things, or that they consider such practices

                             MOUNTAIN MEN

Old Virginia had its Patrick Henry, the Blue Grass its Clays and
Breckinridges, but the Big Sandy produced from its most rugged quarter
as fine and noble timber as could be found throughout the breadth and
width of the Blue Ridge Country.

Early in his youth Hugh Harkins came from Pennsylvania to settle in
Floyd County in the heart of the Big Sandy. That was far back in the
1830's. He knew the saddlery trade but the young man preferred the
profession of law. So acquiring a couple volumes on practice and
procedure he began to study for the bar. He built himself an office of
stone which he helped to dig from the mountain side and with every spare
dollar he bought more law books and timber land. He died in 1869, but by
that time his grandson, Walter Scott Harkins, had a thirst to follow his
footsteps. The boy, even before he was old enough to understand their
meaning, listened avidly to the speeches of his grandfather in the
courtrooms of the mountain counties. And when Walter Scott Harkins was
only a strip of a lad he rode the unbeaten paths to courts of law with
his law books in his saddlebags. If the day were fair he'd get off his
horse, tether it to a tree and climb high on the ridge. There with
statute or law reporter in hand he would read aloud for hours. Again
he'd close the book and with head erect, hands behind him, young Harkins
would repeat as much as he could remember of the text. Often he waxed
enthusiastic. He longed to be an orator. Sometimes thoughtless
companions would jeer at the young Demosthenes, even pelt him with
acorns and pebbles from ambush. But Walter Scott Harkins wasn't daunted
by any such boyish pranks. He kept on orating.

In the meantime, as he rode the lonely mountain paths, he took notice of
the fine timber, just as his grandfather had before him. He was admitted
to the bar in 1877 and hung out his shingle at the door of his
grandfather's office. Like Hugh Harkins, the grandson also began
investing his earnings, meager though they were, in timber land.

One summer evening near dusk the young lawyer was riding toward the
mouth of Big Sandy when he was startled to see in the distance a giant
tongue of flame shooting skyward. At first he thought there was fire on
the mountain but he soon discovered that the flame did not spread but
continued in a straight column upward. He sat motionless in the saddle
for a moment. By this time darkness had descended. The young lawyer was
fascinated by the brilliant flame and determined to test its strength.
Taking a law book from his saddlebags he opened the volume and, to his
surprise, was able to read the small type by the light of the distant
flame with as great ease as though an oil lamp burned at his elbow. Then
he recalled the story of how Dr. Walker, the English explorer, had once
read his maps by the light of a burning spring. Unlike the early
explorer young Harkins determined to do something about it. The legal
mind of the lad spurred his zeal to find the cause of the illuminating

Walter Scott Harkins not only found the cause but he probed the effect
with fine results. With the aid of other interested persons he acquired
mineral rights of lands in the Big Sandy country which included the
burning spring, the like of which in the next decade was to illuminate
towns and cities and operate industries as far removed as one hundred

Moreover Walter Scott Harkins lived to see more than 75,000 acres of his
own forest leveled, whereby he piled up a fortune that could scarcely be
exhausted even unto the fifth generation of Harkinses.

On the window of his law office in Prestonsburg, Floyd County, Kentucky,
appears in letters of gold, an unbroken line of five generations of
Harkinses who have followed the practice of law. Likewise the Harkins'
descendants hold unbroken title to the largest acreage of timber land in
the country. The virgin forest brought its owner more than $160,000 and
the second growth is ready to cut.

Lumber companies bought 70,000 acres of forest and constructed their own
railroads to carry out the timber. They calculated it would take about
twenty-five years to cull out all the big timber and by that time there
would be a second growth. Wasteful methods of lumbering, together with
frequent forest fires and man's utter disregard for the future, have
already brought about the necessity for reforestation in many mountain
sections. As far back as 1886 out of the Big Sandy alone was run
$1,500,000 worth of timber.

Rafts of logs carpeted the Big Sandy River and at its mouth was the
largest round timber market in the world. With its row of riverfront
saloons Catlettsburg, between the Big Sandy and the Ohio Rivers, was
then called the wettest spot on earth. Through its narrow streets strode
loggers and raftsmen. Theirs was talk of cant hooks and spike poles,
calipers and rafts. "You best come and have a drink down to Big Wayne's
that'll put fire in your guts." The boss wanted his whole crew to be
merry, so the whole crew headed for Big Wayne Damron's Black Diamond.

Today the old riverfront lives only in memory. That part of the county
seat is a ghost town. Timbermen and loggers gather no more for revelry
at the riverfront saloon. And should you ask the reason, the old river
rat will answer with a slow-breaking smile, "See off yonder--locks and
dams! Can't run the logs through that!"

Forests that were felled a quarter of a century ago are once again ready
for the woodsman's ax.

The present generation of timbermen look upon a very different scene.
Their dim-eyed grandparents complacently beheld the push boat, that
crude ark which was urged along the stream by means of long poles. It
gave way to shallow drift steamers. And in turn the steamers were shoved
aside for the railroad which was quicker. The boats, _Red Buck_, _Dew
Drop_, once the pride of the river, soon went to anchor and

The county seat changed as well. Once women came to do their trading
there with homemade basket, filled with eggs, butter, ginseng which they
swapped for fixings, thread, and calico. They motor in now to shop.

Typical of the changing scene is the town of Prestonsburg in Floyd
County. It became a county seat in 1799 and was once called Spurlock
Station. Today it is a thriving city with a country club. Daughters of
once rugged farmers and struggling country lawyers now have a social
position to maintain.

Mountain women are becoming class conscious! More's the pity.


It is often said, "Old mother nature must have laughed heartily at the
pioneer, who in his mad rush to go west hurried down through the wide
troughs between the mountains, hurrying on through the valleys, passing
unheeded the wealth in forests on either side, the wealth in minerals
under his very feet." But there came a time when the mountain men
discovered the treasure.

Over in Johnson County, adjoining Floyd, where Walter Scott Harkins had
an eye for timber, his young friend was being twitted for a different
reason. "John Caldwell Calhoun Mayo," they'd string out his long name,
"when you're cooped up in the poorhouse or the lunatic asylum, you can't
say we didn't warn you to quit digging around trying to find a fortune
under the ground."

But young Mayo, like his friend Harkins the lawyer, would only say,
thumbs hooked in suspenders, "He who laughs last, laughs best."

Some of his youthful companions continued to poke fun but John Caldwell
Calhoun Mayo turned them a deaf ear. On foot he trudged endless miles
when he was a poor lad, or rode a scrubby nag along the Warrior's Path,
always seeking coal deposits, pleading with landowners for leases and
options on acreage he knew to be rich in minerals. He surmounted
seemingly impossible barriers, even having legislation enacted to set
aside Virginia land grants. He tapped hidden treasures, developed the
wealth of the Big Sandy country that had been locked in mountain
fastnesses for centuries. Through his vision, thriving cities blossom
where once was wilderness.

The United States Geological Survey shows one eighth of the total coal
area of the nation to be in this region; it supplies nearly one quarter
of all the country's bituminous coal.

                             PUBLIC WORKS

Only in recent years has the mountaineer begun to forsake his cove,
however unproductive the earth may be, for the valley and public works.
Indeed mountain folk long looked down on their own who sought employment
at public works, mines, lumber camps, steel mills. They decried any
employment away from the hillside farm, because it meant to them being
an underling. No mountaineer ever wanted to be company-owned. Leastwise
none of the Wellfords of Laurel Creek. But Clate, youngest of Mark
Wellford's family, lured by the promise of big cash money, decided to
quit the farm and take his wife and little family down to the foothills.
"There's a good mine there, pays good money, and there's a good mine
boss on the job," so Clate was told. Some two years later Clate, a weary
figure, emerged one evening from the company commissary. His face was
smudged with coal dust. A miner's lamp still flickered on his grimy cap.
He carried a dinner bucket and the baby on one arm. Over his shoulder
hung a gunnysack that bulged with canned goods and a poke of meal. At
his heels followed his bedraggled, snaggle-toothed wife, a babe in her
arms and another tugging at her skirts. Her faded calico dress that
dragged in the back was tied in at the waist with a ragged apron. There
was a look of sad resignation in her eyes. Now and then she brushed a
hand up the back of her head to catch the drab stray locks. She might
have been fifty, judging from the stooped shoulders and weary step. Yet
the rounded arms--her sleeves were rolled to the elbow--looked youthful.

Clate halted a few minutes to talk to another miner, a boy in his teens.
"What'd you load today?" the younger asked after casual greetings.
"'Tarnal buggy busted a dozen times, held me back," Clate complained,
shifting the dinner pail and the baby. "Always something to hold a man
back." "I'm figuring on going to Georgia," the young lad sounded
hopeful. "Got a buddy down there in the steel mill. Beats the mines any
day." He saw some young friends across the street and hurried to join

"Come on, Phoebe!" Clate called over his shoulder to his wife, "get a
mosey on you. I'm hongry. And 'ginst you throw a snack of grub together
it'll be bedtime. An' before you know it, it's time to get up and hit
for the hill again." He plodded on up the winding path to a row of
shacks. His little family followed.

The row of dilapidated shacks where the miners lived was clinging to the
mountain side at the rear, while the fronts were propped up with rough
posts. They were all alike with patched rubberoid roofs, broken tile
chimneys, windows with broken panes. Rough plank houses unpainted,
though here and there a board showed traces of once having been red or
brown. Between the houses at rare intervals a fence post remained. But
the pickets had long since been torn away to fire the cookstove or
grate. There were no gardens. Coal companies did not encourage
gardening. Miners and their families lived out of cans, and canned goods
come high at the company's commissary.

A tipple near the drift mouth of the mine belched coal and coal dust day
after day. When Phoebe--you'd never have known her for the pretty girl
she used to be far back in the Blue Ridge--rubbed out a washing on the
washboard, hung it to dry on the wire line stretched from the back door
to a nail on the side of the out-building, she knew that every rag she
rubbed and boiled and blued would be grimy with coal dust before it
dried. What was she to do about it? Where else could the wash be hung?
Once Phoebe thought she had found the right place. A grassy plot quite
hidden beyond a clump of trees. She put the wet garments in a basket and
carried them off to dry, spreading them upon the green earth. But no
sooner had she spread out the last piece than a fellow came riding up.
"What's the big idea?" he demanded, shaking a fist at the garments on
the ground. And Phoebe, from Shoal's Fork of Greasy Creek, never having
heard the expression, mumbled in confusion, "I'm pleased to meet you."

"Don't try to get fresh," the fellow scowled. "Don't you know this
ground is company-owned? The big boss keeps this plot for his saddle
horse to graze on. Pick up your rags and beat it!"

She understood from the gesture the meaning of beat it and obeyed in

There was little room to stretch up a line indoors, though she did
sometimes in the winter when the backyard was too sloppy to walk in.
Clate Wellford's was one of the smaller shacks, a room with a lean-to
kitchen. The others, with two rooms, cost more. Besides there were other
things to be taken out of date's pay envelope before it reached him;
there were electric light, coal, the store bill, and the company doctor.

"None of my folks have been sick. We've never even set eyes on the
doctor," Clate complained to the script clerk on the first payday.

"What of it?" the script clerk replied. "You'd be running quick enough
for the doctor if one of your kids or your old woman got sick or met
with an accident, wouldn't you? The doctor's got to live same as the
rest of us."

So the miner stumbled out with no more to say. Sometimes he'd vent his
spleen upon his wife. "You wuz the one that wanted to come here! Wisht
I'd never married. A man can't get nowheres with a wife and young ones
on his hands." And the wife, remembering the way of mountain women,
offered no word of argument.

When the owners of the coal operation came from the East to check up
output and earnings they didn't take time to make a tour of inspection
of the shacks. Certainly they had no time to listen to complaints of

Lured by the promise of big money Clate Wellford, like many other
mountain men, forsook the familiar life of his own creek for the strange
work-a-day of the mining camp.

Back on Shoal's Fork of Greasy Creek there was always milk a-plenty to
drink. Bless you, Clate knew the time when he'd carried buckets full of
half-sour milk to the hogs. How they guzzled it! Here there was never a
drop of cow's milk to drink. You got it in cans--thick, condensed,
sickeningly sweet. Couldn't fool the children, not even when you thinned
it with water. "It don't taste like Bossy's milk," the youngsters shoved
it away.

What was more, back on Shoal's Fork there was always fried chicken in
the spring. All you could eat. Turkey and goose and duck, if you chose,
through the winter and plenty of ham meat. There was never a day date's
folks couldn't go out into the garden and bring in beans, beets, corn,
and cabbage. He'd never known a time when there were not potatoes and
turnips the year round. The Wellfords had come to take such things for
granted. But here in the coal camp you could walk the full length of the
place from the last ramshackle house on down to the commissary and never
see a bed of onions and lettuce. The shacks were so close together there
was no room for a garden, even if the company had permitted it.

"That's company-owned!" the boss growled at Clate that time he was
trying to break up the hard crusty earth with a hoe.

"I've got my own onion sets," Clate tried to explain. "My folks fetched
'em down."

"Who cares?" the company boss snarled. "What you reckon the company's
running a commissary for? The store manager can sell you onions--ready
to eat."

So the miner didn't set out an onion bed.

Again, Clate found some old warped planks outside the drift mouth of the
mine; he brought them home and was building a pigpen. The mine boss came
charging down upon him.

"What you doing with the company's planks?"

The frightened Clate tried to explain that he had supposed the wood
thrown aside was useless and that he was making ready for the young
shoat his folks meant to bring him.

"What you suppose the company would do if every miner packed off planks
and posts that he happens to see laying around?" he eyed Clate
suspiciously. "We'd soon shut down, that's what would happen. And as for
meat. You can buy sow-belly and bologna at the commissary." There was
something more. "If you want to keep out of trouble and don't want a
couple bucks taken out of your pay, you better get them planks and posts
back where you found them!"

The miner's shack was perched on such high stilts that the wind whistled
underneath the floor until it felt like ice to the bare feet of the
children. It took a lot of coal in the grate and the kitchen stove to
keep the place halfway warm. The children were sick all through the
winter. Now and then the company doctor stopped in on his rounds of the
coal camp to leave calomel and quinine.

With the birth of her last baby, Clate's wife got down with a bealed
breast after she had been up and about for a week. "I'm bound to hire
someone," Clate told his wife. So he hired Liz Elswick to come and do
the cooking, washing, and ironing and to look after the children.

Out on Shoal's Fork neighbor women came eagerly to help each other in
case of sickness.

Though it was not much they had to pay Liz--she took it out in trade at
the store, the makings of a calico dress, a pair of shoes--it was a
hardship on the Wellfords. For Liz Elswick, like other women in a coal
camp, never having handled real money, knew little of cost. Nor did she
know how to supply the simple needs of the family. Phoebe was too ill to
offer a word of advice, poor though it would have been. So, before long,
Clate was behind with his store bill. Or to put it the other way around,
for the company always took theirs first, Clate had nothing left in his
pay envelope on payday.

Then, when he might have had a few dollars coming, something else would
happen: shoes would be worn out, he'd have to buy new ones for the
children couldn't go barefoot in the winter. He himself had to wear
heavy boots in the mine in order to work at all, for Clate had to stand
in water most of the time when he picked or loaded. Another time the
house caught fire and burned up their beds, chairs, everything. Even
though he had steady work that month he had to sell his time to the
script clerk in order to get cash to replace his loss. A buddy in the
mine was selling out his few possessions at a sacrifice because his wife
had run off with a Hunkie. The Hungarian showed the faithless creature a
billfold with greenbacks in it, promised her a silk dress and a

"Why don't you buy new furniture at the commissary?" the script clerk
wanted to know of Clate. "There are beds and chairs, bureaus and tables.
Get them on time."

"I can't afford it," Clate said honestly.

So, after much bickering, the company's script clerk offered to give the
miner script for his time.

"My buddy has to have cash money," Clate argued. "He's quitting. Going
back to his folks over in Ohio."

Clate found out that when he sold his time he got only about fifty cents
for a dollar.

"What you think I'm accommodating you for?" the company's script clerk
wanted to know. "I'm not out for my health. Course if you don't want to
take it"--he shoved the money halfway across the counter to Clate--"you
don't have to. There are plenty of fellows who are glad to sell their

There was nothing left for Clate to do. He and his family had to have
the bare necessities, bed, table, chairs.

Soon he was in the category with the other miners, always behind, always
overdrawn, always selling his time before payday. Soon he was getting an
empty envelope with a lot of figures marked on the outside. Clate was
company-owned! If he lived to be a hundred he'd never be paid out.

Though Clate Wellford and the other coal miners never heard the word
redemptioner and indent, they were not unlike those pioneer victims of
unscrupulous subordinates. Men in bondage like the sharecropper of the
Deep South, the Okie of the West.

How different the children of the coal field looked to those along the
creeks in the shady hollows of the Blue Ridge!

In the coal camps they were unkempt and bony, in dirty, ragged garments.
They squabbled among themselves and shambled listlessly along the narrow
path that led past the row of shacks toward the commissary. The path was
black with coal dust and slate dumped along the way to fill the mud

Why do they continue to live in such squalor and in bondage? Why don't
they move away?

If a miner should decide to move out, he has no means of getting his few
belongings to the railroad spur some distance from the camp, for he has
neither team nor wagon. All these are company-owned. The company, which
controls the railroad spur, also has control too over the boxcars that
are on the track. Only the company can make requisition for an empty
boxcar. If a miner wants to move he cannot even get space, though he is
willing to pay for it, in a boxcar to have his goods hauled out.

He stays on defeated and discouraged.

If, however, he does quit one coal camp and get out he is unskilled in
other labor and if he should try to evade his store and other
obligations with one coal company, the office employees have a way of
passing on the information to another operation. There are ways of
putting a laborer on the blacklist.

But why should he try to move on? Word comes back to the miner from
other buddies who have tried other camps. "They're all the same. Might
as well stay where you are."

Behind every shack is a dump heap of cans, coal ashes, potato peel,
coffee grounds, and old shoes.

Rarely was the voice of the miner's wife raised in song as she plodded
through her daily drudgery. Now and then the young folks could be heard
singing--but not an ancient ballad. Rather it was a rakish song picked
up from drummers coming through the mining camps who sold their inferior
wares to the commissary manager.

There was a church propped up on the hillside. But meeting usually broke
up with the arrest of some of the young fellows who didn't try hard
enough to suppress a laugh when the camp harlot went to the mourner's
bench, or when some old creature too deaf to hear a word the preacher
said went hobbling toward the front. Sometimes an older miner, who for
the sheer joy of expressing a long-pent-up feeling, shouted "Praise the
Lord!", was dragged out by a deputy sheriff, along with the young
bloods, on a charge of disturbing religious worship.

The limb of the law usually knew who had a few dollars left from the
week's pay. The law knew too that a miner preferred to pay a fine rather
than lie in jail and lose time on the job next day.

There was no pleasant diversion around the coal camp for womenfolk and
children, no happy gatherings such as the play party, a quilting, an
old-time square dance. In their drab surroundings, little wonder men and
women grew old before their time.

That was yesterday. Today there are model mining towns throughout the
coal fields. Holden in West Virginia even has swimming pools and modern
cottages for its miners. A miner can work on the side too--it is not
uncommon to see signs over his cottage or barn door reading, "Painting
and Paper Hanging," "Decorating." There are thrifty vegetable gardens,
and miners' wives vie with each other in the product of their flower
gardens. Holden is sometimes called the Model Mining Town of America. It
has welcomed visitors from all over the land.

In Harlan, Kentucky, once the center of many stormy battles between
miners and operators, the county crowned a Coal Queen on August 23,
1941, commemorating the first shipment of coal thirty years previously.
The queen, a pretty eighteen-year-old high school girl, won the title
from six other contestants, enthroned on a replica of the railroad car
which hauled out the county's first coal. As part of the celebration a
$1500 public drinking fountain was dedicated and speakers hailed the
economic progress of Harlan County since 1911. Each day 1200 railroad
cars loaded with coal leave the county.

It was an all-day program being sponsored by the Harlan Mining Institute
safety organization in co-operation with the County Coal Operators

Not only were mining officials present from many points but politicians
as well were present, including Mrs. Herbert C. Cawood, Republican
nominee for sheriff, a sister of the crowned coal queen.

                           BACK TO THE FARM

For those who do not have a hankering for work in the foothills and
industrial centers there is today a greater incentive to go back to the
farm or to stay there than ever before in the history of our country.
For the young mountaineer there is the Future Farmer Association which
not only trains him in soil conservation, guides him in what is best for
his type of farm, or what stock he can best produce, but also holds out
the spur of reward. It is a fine plan for promoting friendly rivalry and
spurs the future farmer to excel his young neighbor. Each fall there is
a great state fair in a leading city of each of the Blue Ridge states,
where the young future farmers of America gather with their exhibits in
livestock, poultry, exhibits of their own crops. There is even a revival
of the prettiest baby contest so familiar to the old county fair of the
long ago. However today the contest has expanded beyond mere beauty;
there is a health baby contest. The grand champion rural child is given
an award with much pomp, and to complete the spirit of friendly rivalry
and to bring about better understanding and fellowship between country
and town there is also a contest for the champion rural and city baby.

The mountain boy, because he is no longer isolated by rugged roads,
meets his city cousin on common ground.

The scene has changed along the once rugged creek-bed road. In place of
the saddle hung on a wall peg on the front stoop for passersby to view
and perhaps envy, a new saddle once the joy and pride of the mountain
lad, today there is a spare tire and there is an auto in the foreyard or
in the garage, a garage which is often bigger than the little cabin

The mountain farmer is being taught by skilled leaders to help himself.

Even if the mountaineer's farm is on a forty-five-degree slope there is
hope for him today, thanks to the Farm Security Administration. A
workable plan for soil rebuilding was the first step. To reclaim wet
land the mountain man digs drainage ditches. Stone, heretofore hidden in
the mountain side and unused, is now utilized for building barns and
houses. On fourteen acres a man and his family, including a couple of
grown sons and their families, can today raise a living and be
comfortable. With a loan of $440 from the Farm Security Administration a
once unproductive miserable farm can be made liveable and productive.

The farmer of the hill country is being trained to put to use the things
at hand.

Second-growth timber is coming on and is conserving the productive
qualities of the hillside soil which was drained away by ruthless
cutting of timber a quarter century ago. Today the farmer is taught to
treat his farm and pasture land with lime and phosphate, a thing unheard
of in the early days. And the greatest of all his blessings today, the
mountain farmer will tell you, is the good road.

Why then should he want to leave the mountains he knows and loves so

It was tried by the young folks, but finding themselves ill fitted for
work at coal camps or steel and iron mills or factories or industrial
centers, they returned eagerly to the hills, at least during the first
five years of the thirties.

To this day, though some have remained in the mill towns, it is not
uncommon to hear the womenfolk--whose men have provided them with modern
conveniences, a frigidaire, a gas range, an electric washer and iron, a
spigot of running water--say, "Wisht I had back my cellar house, my
cedar churn, the battling block to make clean our garments. All these
here fixy contrapshuns make slaves of my menfolks at public works to
earn enough cash money to pay for them." And again, "I'm a-feared of
that 'mobile. I'd druther ride behint old Nell in the jolt wagon."

Recently a Harvard sociologist, Dr. C. C. Zimmerman, has suggested that,
because the Appalachian and Ozark farmers are producing children in
excess of the number "required to maintain a population status quo,"
they pull up stakes and settle in "declining rural New England."

However, those in a position to know, through long years of close
contact with the southern mountaineer and his needs, point out that no
resettlement or colonizing plan can be worked out until a better program
of regional analysis is first accomplished. They point out that many a
mountain farmer would not earn in a whole lifetime of toil enough money
to make a down payment on "even a rundown New England farm."

Besides there is still in the makeup of the mountaineer that spirit of
independence. He does not want to rent. He wants to own outright, even
if his property is no more than a house seat. There are few
sharecroppers in the southern highlands. A mountaineer would rather
suffer starvation than be subservient. Though he may be illiterate he
still remembers, because the story has been handed on by word-of-mouth,
the suffering and mistreatment of his forbears across the sea.

To add to his security today there is the Tenant Purchase program for
rehabilitation through the United States Department of Agriculture, and
mountain men themselves are selected as members of the committee. It is
a part of the FSA. The _Big Sandy News_, July 25, 1941, carries this
story to the mountaineer: "The Tenant Purchase program provides for the
purchase of family type farms by qualified tenants under the
Bankhead-Jones Tenant Purchase Act. Farm Security Administration
rehabilitator loans are available to low income farm families,
ineligible for credit elsewhere, for the purchase of livestock,
workstock, seed, fertilizer and equipment, in accordance with carefully
planned operation of the farm and home. About 150 farm families in
Lawrence county have already been helped by this program.

"The services of debt adjustment committeemen are available to all
farmers, as well as to FSA borrowers. The committeemen will assist
creditors and farm debtors to reach an amicable adjustment of debts
based on the ability to pay."

In this particular section of the Blue Ridge, while some are looking to
the soil, others have an eye on the waters above the earth. There is
being revived the plan of twenty years ago for the canalization of one
of the best-known and most important rivers of the Blue Ridge
Country--the Big Sandy. As a means to that end there is an organization
called the Big Sandy Improvement Association and, with a mountain man,
Congressman A. J. May, to espouse its cause, things look promising for
the project.

The mountain men and their city co-workers get together and speak their
minds and exchange views at dinner meetings down in the Big Sandy
Valley. A survey is being conducted to show to what extent a navigable
river would aid industry, especially the coal business. Mountain men are
joining their practical knowledge with the scientific knowledge of men
of the level land who are putting the plan of canalization of the Big
Sandy River before Uncle Sam for consideration and backing.

The people of the Blue Ridge mountains are learning slowly and surely to
mingle and to work with others. That again is due to good roads.

Once there was the simple manner of making sorghum, whereby the mountain
man paid for the use of the mill in cash or cane; today there is the
Sorghum Association which helps the mountaineer market his product.
There is even a Blackberry Association whose trucks drive to the very
door and load up every gallon a family can pick.

Conservation is evident on every side and mountain people are realizing
the benefits in dollars.

Where once timbering was carried on in an appallingly wasteful manner,
reforestation under the guidance of trained leaders is under way. Camps
of the CCC dot the whole southern mountain region and fruits of their
efforts can be seen in the growing forests on many a mountain side. In
Mammoth Cave National Park alone 2,900,000 seedlings were planted to
stay gulley erosion in an area of 3,000,000 square yards.

Mountain boys who have entered CCC camps are rated high in obedience,
deportment, and adaptability to surroundings. Some of them have never
been away from home before. Many have been no farther than the nearest
county seat.

Frequently the mother back home can neither read nor write but she shows
with pride a letter from her son. "My boy's in the Three C's. He's writ
me this letter. Read with your own eyes." You see her glow with genuine
pride of possession as you read aloud--perhaps the hundredth time she
has heard it--the boy's letter. The mother shows it to everyone who
crosses her threshold there in the Dug Down Mountains of Georgia. There
is another letter too. "Johnny's captain writ this one." She knows them
apart even though she does not know A from B. "Johnny's captain has writ
moughty pretty about our boy." So well does the old mother know the
content of the letters she is ready to prompt if the visitor omits so
much as a single word in the reading. And when Johnny came home, after
his first months of service were ended, he was hailed as a conquering
hero by family and neighbors alike. The mother was proudest of all.
"Look at this-here contrapshun." From the well-ordered case in the boy's
trunk she brought out a toothbrush. "He's larnt to scrub his teeth with
this-here bresh and"--she added with unconcealed satisfaction--"he don't
dip no more. 'Pon my honor he's about wheedled me into the notion of
givin' up snuff. But when a body's old and drinlin' like I'm getting to
be dipping is a powerful comforting pastime."

The mountain boy's older brothers and father too have come to understand
co-operation. They can work with others. They know the meaning of WPA
folklore. When the boss calls out jovially, "Come and grab it, boys!"
they, who have never heretofore worked by the clock, know dinner time is
up and they must start back to work. When the head of the work crew
calls out "Hold! Hold! Hold!" they know a fuse of dynamite is about to
be lighted to blast the rock from the mountain side and they hurry to
safety. "Dynamite is powerful destructuous!" one tells the other, and
they remain at safe distance until again the boss of the crew calls out
"All right!" and they are back with pick and shovel.

The mountaineer has become a good steel worker, a dairyman in the
foothills, a good mill hand.

The old folk, however, still cling to the old order of things. Once
there was an old schoolmaster in the southern mountains who refused to
give up teaching from the McGuffey Readers despite the fact that
legislation had ruled out the old familiar classics. So persistent was
he in his decision it eventually brought on a heart attack which caused
his death.

Men of the hills have been quite baffled by CIO and other union cards.
Young men first joining the CIO were heard to boast, "We can have
anything we want. The CIO is going to buy me and my woman and the kids a
nice, fine, pretty home. Pay all our bills if we get sick."

Only a few short years ago in a coal camp in West Virginia a mountain
man, who was then working at public works for the first time, found
himself haled into court at the county seat on some misdemeanor charge.
When asked "Who is the President of the United States?" he
unhesitatingly gave the name of the sheriff who had arrested him. So
long had his family lived apart that he knew nothing of the workings of
his own government and nothing about the various offices, high and low.
Yet in the family burying ground of that mountain man inscriptions on
the tombstones of his ancestors show that three of them served with
distinction in the War of the Revolution.

Lest the coming generation forget the ways of their forbears and the
America for which men struggled and died--the America of yesterday--the
scene is being faithfully reconstructed in various ways in national
parks. The boys of the CCC camps are having a very important hand in
reconstruction and conservation.

Some years ago a nephew of Fiddling Bob Taylor of Tennessee met with
several friends on hallowed ground in that State, not for a patriotic
celebration but merely for the joy of roaming in the great out-of-doors.
The ex-governor's kinsman, like his forbears, had been born on the site
where in 1772 the first step was made in American independence by the
Watauga Association. This autumn day these sons of those early
patriots fell to talking of the country, its scenic beauty, its
resources--particularly in the mountain region. "Fitting shrines set in
the beauty of the great out-of-doors are the finest monuments to our
patriots, it seems to me," said one. Another said, "The world's history
shows that from the time of creation the successful men were those who
really loved the out-of-doors. Abraham was a nomad whose home was
wherever he pitched his tent. Moses sought the silence and solitude of
Midian before God could speak to him. David was a shepherd boy on the
Judean hills. Elijah dwelt in a cave. In the New World we see
Washington, the surveyor, a lover of the out-of-doors; Thomas Jefferson,
finding happiness and contentment in roaming the hills of Virginia; the
immortal Lincoln, coming from the backwoods of humble parents; Theodore
Roosevelt, cowboy on the plains of our western country."

With a smile Fiddling Bob's nephew turned to his friends. "Fellows, I'll
wager there's not one among them from Abraham down to Teddy but would
enjoy a canter over a good highway to take a look at the Blue Ridge
Country. The most beautiful forests and parks in the world. Ought to
link 'em up with a highway."

"Not a bad idea," chorused the friends, and they took another round of
mint juleps to celebrate the birth of a thought.

"Ideas grow and thoughts travel fast," Fiddling Bob's nephew remarked
some years later when setting out on a cross-country journey. "The
Park-to-Park Highway grows annually and this Skyline Drive, which is a
part of the plan, is one of the most alluring of all modern roads."
Starting at Front Royal, the northern entrance to the Shenandoah Valley
Park, it continues to Rockfish Gap near Waynesboro on the south, a
distance of 107 miles. It is a broad mountain highway following the
crest of the Blue Ridge, invading a world that was remote and known only
to mountain folk. Today over its smooth, paved surface cars climb
quickly to airy heights from which may be viewed innumerable vistas of
the Piedmont plateau and the Shenandoah Valley. At strategic points
parking overlooks have been constructed, from which are seen tumbling
waterfalls, deep and narrow canyons, cool shady forests, open meadows,
and wild flowers of every shade and hue throughout the summer. Autumn
presents a boundless riot of color and winter a snowy, sparkling blanket
pierced by tall green pines.

The Skyline Drive links with the Blue Ridge Parkway at Rockfish Gap
which will at last connect the Shenandoah National Park with the Great
Smoky Mountain National Park in North Carolina and Tennessee.

"In case you don't know," Fiddling Bob's nephew likes to remind a
stranger, "Shenandoah Valley Park was presented by Virginians to the
nation in 1935 and more than three million dollars have been spent on
the Skyline Drive alone--a drive that hasn't a parallel in America.
Through this wilderness the Father of his Country once trudged on foot
as a surveyor and looked down upon the beauty of the Shenandoah Valley
from the lofty peaks of the Blue Ridge. His was the task to survey lands
for the oncoming settlers. He had no moment to explore under the earth.
That was the task of later men. Today for good measure, after you have
beheld the breathtaking beauty from the heights, just travel seven
eighths of a mile from Front Royal to the Skyline Caverns where you'll
see the most unusual cave flowers that man has ever looked upon.
Why"--Fiddling Bob's nephew puffs vehemently on his corn-cob pipe--"do
you know that Dr. Holden, he's professor of Geology at VPI, says these
Hellicitites, that's what he calls 'em, 'these weird, fantastic, and
pallid forms' warp scientific judgment. And, friends, it's nature's
work, these inconceivable structures hidden from the world for millions
of years down under the ground."

He turned with a beaming countenance when we had emerged from the cavern
of matchless wonders. "Young Americans don't have to study geography
books these days. All they have to do is get a second-hand car, fill it
up, and strike out on the Park-to-Park Highway. They'll get an eyeful
and an earful too from native sons, and learn more about America than
they can dig out of the dry pages of a book in a year. Why, right down
there at Charlottesville there's Ash Lawn where James Monroe lived and
meditated. His friend, Thomas Jefferson, set about building the place in
1798 while Monroe was in France looking after Uncle Sam's business. Even
great and busy men in those days were neighborly. Thomas Jefferson did a
good part by his neighbor James Monroe when he built that house, and the
ambassador thanked him generously when he came back to occupy the place.
The two used to roam the grounds together and spent many happy hours
there. They visited to and fro; you see Monroe lived across yonder
within sight of his friend's home. The great of the past take on reality
when you actually set foot upon the ground they have trod. Places come
to life when we see them with our own eyes. That's the purpose of these
great highways, the Park-to-Park highways that connect the scenes of
American history."

As the terrain changes there is a great variety in the scenes along
Skyline Drive. Sometimes the road leaves the crest to tunnel through a
rocky flank of mountain and you come unexpectedly upon sparkling streams
tumbling down the mountain side to the valley below. The eye follows the
cascade to the very edge of the drive. It disappears beneath the wide
surface and reappears beyond a rocky wall, cascading down and down to
fertile valleys below.

Virginians, and people of the Blue Ridge generally, count one of their
greatest prides the restoration of the capital at Williamsburg through
the generosity of John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Old and young who pass
through the graceful wrought-iron gates to the Governor's Palace thrill
at the sight of the restored colonial capital named for King William
III, a scene which all in all reflects old England in miniature, "as the
state of mind of its citizens reflected the grandeur that was to be
America." Here are the stocks in which offenders were locked while they
suffered jibes from passing tormentors. Elegant coach-and-four remind
the visitor of days of grandeur of Old Virginia when the FFV's were
entertained at the royal palace. Across the way is the wigmaker's shop,
and the craft house, displaying the Wolcott Collection of ancient tools
and instruments. Here too is seen the Wren building, oldest academic
structure in English America, "first modeled by Sir Christopher Wren."

Even a youngster of the Blue Ridge knows about Yorktown where Lord
Cornwallis surrendered in 1781. "Here's where we fit and plum whopped
the life outten the redcoats," we overheard a mountain boy from a
mission school boasting to his companions.

Within a few short hours I had left behind Old Virginia and its
reminders of colonial days and crossed into the Mountain State.

"There's plenty of beauty and culture in Old Virginia, I'm not denying
that--" Bruce Crawford looked over his spectacles at his inquisitive
visitor--"but there's just as much on this side of the Blue Ridge. We've
got as many wonders under the earth as above it. And"--he turned now in
his swivel chair in his quarters in the Capital to look far up the
Kanawha River--among the many duties of this Fayette County man is that
of letting the world know about his state--"I'm not forgetting Boone
roved these parts. Trapped and hunted right here on the Kanawha. But
what I started to talk about was not the hills, the rivers, and the
caves, but the people." He spoke slowly, deliberately, this sturdy,
well-groomed hillsman. Like Sergeant York of the Tennessee Mountains
Bruce Crawford can, if need be, drop easily back into the dialect of his
people. And he is an accomplished writer. "I don't care enough about it
to follow the profession of writing," he said, and fire glowed in his
gray eyes. "But as old Uncle Dyke Garrett used to say, 'I takened all I
could a while back from furriners' so I cut loose and wrote my notions
about it and it was published in the _West Virginia Review_. Take it
along with you on your travels through the Mountain State and see if
I've come near hitting center."

It seems to me he came mighty near hitting center and with Bruce
Crawford's permission, here are his sentiments:

"In recent weeks two ignorant jibes were flung at the State of West
Virginia, one by a Southern editor and the other by a Northern

"The editor, a Virginian, moaned that rude mountaineers had routed
Democrats of the 'old Southern type' from the Capital on the Kanawha and
that the Lost Cause was lost all over again. He was still sad because
Senator Matthew M. Neely had been elected Governor on a platform to
restore democracy to the Democratic Party, and government to the
governed, in West Virginia.

"The cartoonist represented us by a stock hill-billy character with
bushy beard and rifle in hand, gunning for someone around the mountains.

"Both editor and cartoonist have their heads in the sands of the past.

"West Virginians are Mountaineers by geography and tradition, and proud
of it. Originally they were induced by wily Virginians to come into
these mountains and form a buffer back-country against Indians, French
and British. Here they grew sturdy, self-reliant and independent. They
fought the first and last battles of the American Revolution, as well as
the first land engagement of the war to preserve the Union. They were
shooting for liberty while Patrick Henry was still shouting for it among
appeasers of King George. A continental commander, it is told, refused
to enlist more volunteers from the Colonies, saying he had plenty of
West Virginians. General Washington, too, thought these mountaineers
were tops, for in a dark hour of the Revolution he said: 'Leave me but a
banner to place upon the mountains of West Augusta, and I will gather
around me the men who will lift our bleeding country from the dust and
set her free.'

"These mountaineers saved piedmont and tidewater Virginia from Indians,
helped win the American independence, and made possible the opening up
of Kentucky to the West. They then expected a fair deal from the
Virginia Government, but they did not get it. So when Virginia seceded
from the Union, they seceded from Virginia. And proudly they adopted the
motto, 'Mountaineers are always free,' a sentiment so generally
subscribed to that it appears over the entrance to our penitentiary.

"The slurs persist through ignorance.

"True, we have had all-out clan wars. We have had violent chapters in
our industrial story, under state governments apparently considered
benevolent by the Virginia editor. We tolerated waste of both human and
material resources under wild individualism. But a new day has come,
promising the greatest good to the greatest number, and we shall have
much to advertise, as envisioned in Governor Neely's inaugural address
when he said:

"'Fortunately impoverished land can be reclaimed; denuded areas can be
reforested; unnecessary stream pollution can be prevented; and in our
purified watercourses fish can be made to thrive.... For our posterity
and ourselves, we must restore as much as possible of the matchless
heritage which we wasted as improvidently as the base Indian who threw
away a pearl that was richer than all his tribe.... If to West Virginia
scenery, which is surprisingly diversified and transcendently beautiful,
we add the lure of fully restored forests, fish and game, the State will
eventually become a happy hunting ground for the sportsman; a paradise
for the tourist; and the home of prosperity more abundant than we have
ever known.'

"Progress toward these aims is being made under the direction of various

"In addition to mining areas producing more soft coal than any other
state, plus our varied manufactures, we have fertile valleys and slopes
from which ... an increasing harvest is reaped. The State's diversity of
activity should, in the fullness of time, make West Virginia the most
progressive, the most socially balanced, and therefore the most truly
civilized State in the Union.

"Our road system is being rapidly improved.... Many of our historic and
scenic spots and recreational areas, hitherto locked in the uplands, are
easily reached as more and more tourists travel pioneer trails on modern

"All these things now are being discovered, or soon should be, by the
whole Nation. Ours is the Vacationland at the Crossroads of the East.

"Just as in other times of national peril the human and material
resources of this region figured indispensably, so today its great
strength will be used against the Hitler menace.... West Virginia, with
its industrial development and strategic isolation from attack, may
become the Defense Hero of a war in which states little and large have
fallen before the juggernaut of tyranny. Again, as in the time of
Washington, the Nation may look to these West Virginia hills, and plant
here the oriflamme of freedom.

"Let us sing of the soft, folded beauty of the Alleghenies; of rivers
roaring with primeval discontent and streams crystal-clear (save those
running red from wounded hills); of Edenlike forests in Monongahela's
million acres; of Ohio's fertile valley, placid and hill-bordered, where
once 'warwhoop and savage scream echoed wild from rock and hill'; of
clean-trimmed rolling landscapes of Eastern Panhandle, famed for history
and old houses; of lovely pastoral valleys of the South Branch,
Greenbrier and Tygart; of wild, boulder-strewn New River Canyon; of
Webster's forest monarchs and her deep, cool woods; of the 'brown waters
of Gauley that move evermore where the tulip tree scatters its blossoms
in Spring'; of the green hills mirrored in starlit Kanawha; of
white-splashing Blackwater Falls, awe-inspiring Grand View, enchanting
Seneca Rocks, and the remote Smoke Hole region with its Shangri La

"Sing of our rhododendron and its dark-green, wax-like leaf and purple
flower; of Mingo's mighty oak that weathered six hundred winters; of our
highest peak, Spruce Knob, bony above the lush forest; of Cranberry
Glades and their strong plants native to Equator and Pole; bracing
altitudes, averaging highest east of the Mississippi.

"Sing a lay for the strawberries of Buckhannon, buckwheat of Kingwood,
our lowly but uprising spud, tobacco at Huntington, and the wine-smell
of orchards in Berkeley; for the horses of Greenbrier, Herefords of
Hampshire, sheep on Allegheny slopes, deer in a dozen State Parks, and
bears in the pines of Pocahontas.

"Sing of timber, iron and steel; of coal heaved by brawny miners into
the bituminous bin of the Nation; of oil gushers and gas flow; of
vitrolite and chromium, plastics and neon, rayon and nylon; of glass
stained for cathedrals of Europe; of billions of kilowatts from coal,
and potentially more water power; of fluorescent bulbs at Fairmont, and
poisonous red flakes in the Kanawha sky from metallurgical plants--fire
poppies blooming in the night.

"Sing of deeds and events of deathless renown; of Morgan Morgan and his
first white settlement at Bunker Hill; of James Rumsey and his steamboat
on the Potomac; of Chesapeake and Ohio's epic completion across the
State in '73 to the tune of legendary John Henry's steel-driving ballad
in Big Bend tunnel; of turnpikes, taverns and toll houses long
abandoned; of our leaders, Negro and white, in business, industry,
education, religion and government; of our stalwarts of union labor
whose vision, social comprehension and courage helped to bring a new day
for all; of our cherished democracy, flexible and self-righting in a
world where popular rule is a rarity.

"I have catalogued in clumsy prose what a Thomas Dunn English or a Roy
Lee Harmon could peel off in crisp, singing lines. Surely we have gifted
souls who can illumine our story in song--the story of Mountaineers
Always Free, of West Virginians always Mountaineers--for a better
understanding by the country at large ... of this land of heroic past,
exhilarating present, and promising future."

A journey through the Mountain State convinces the traveler that on her
side of the Blue Ridge West Virginia offers as many wonders under the
earth as above it, if one is not a claustrophobe. There's Gandy Sinks
where my friends of the Speleological Society were trapped by a
cloudburst on August 1, 1940; and Seneca Caverns, in Monongahela
National Forest, once the refuge of Seneca Indians about twenty miles
west of Franklin on U. S. Route 33, and six miles from Spruce Knob.
Caves as unbelievably beautiful as the Luray Caverns of Virginia, where
the great council room of the Seneca tribe remains as it was in the day
of the redskins. There is even a legend about Snow Bird, the only
daughter of Bald Eagle and White Rock, his wife. Inside the cavern, if
you look carefully, there is to be seen the outline of the lovely face
of Snow Bird on the great stone wall. There are a Wigwam, and an
Iceberg, an Alligator, and the Golden Horseshoe and Balcony of the
Metropolitan, all in natural stone formation.

West Virginia has developed 84,186 acres in its state-park and forest
system. Sparkling rivers flow throughout the state. At the junction of
the Ohio and Kanawha Rivers where Daniel Boone once roamed there is a
monument commemorating the battle of the Revolution between colonial
troops and Indians. Here too are the graves of a woman scout, "Mad Anne"
Bailey, and a Shawnee chieftain, Cornstalk. There are hundreds of miles
of trails, safe underfoot, but flanked by as wild and rugged lands as
ever infested by the Indian.

                            VALLEY OF PARKS

If Dr. Walker, the English explorer, should return to the earth today
and visit the Big Sandy country near the point where he first entered
the state of Kentucky, he'd be amazed at the sight which would greet his
eyes. Cities have sprung up where once was wilderness. Yet one natural
beauty of the country remains unchanged: the great gorge made by Russell
Fork of Levisa Fork of the Big Sandy, breaking through the mountain at
an elevation of 2800 feet--The Breaks of Big Sandy. Here in the days of
the Civil War many thrilling episodes took place and through The Breaks
a Confederate regiment trekked back to Virginia leaving behind a string
of Democratic counties in its wake.

Recently added to Jefferson National Forest, another link in the chain
of Park-to-Park highways, The Breaks of Big Sandy is the most
picturesque and historic spot in eastern Kentucky. It is located on
State Route 80, just thirty miles from Pikeville where many of the
McCoys live peaceably today. Kentucky, with the mother state Virginia,
is planning a better and broader highway to The Breaks, which will
readily connect it with the Mayo Trail. And the native sons still
dwelling in the hills, aided by their neighbors representing them in
state and federal offices, are busily planning an improvement program
for the area in which The Breaks are embraced.

Once the Dark and Bloody Ground, Kentucky today is fairly teeming with
reawakening. Her people are hastening to bring from hidden coves things
once discarded as fogey. "We aim for this generation to know how thrifty
and apt their forbears were," is frequently heard from their lips. In
historic Levi Jackson Wilderness Road State Park (U. S. 25), near
London, there is an old cider press. Far back in 1790 William Pearl, one
of the early settlers in Laurel County, made and set up the crude press
for making cider, or brandy if he chose. The press rests on a stone base
five feet wide. Happily, Pearl's great-grandson was wise enough to
preserve the relic and present it to the park. Within the park also is
Frazier's Knob, the highest point in the state of Kentucky. On the banks
of Little Laurel flowing through the park one may see an old-time
watermill in full operation. And if you have a bit of imagination you'll
wait your turn and take home a poke of meal and have cornbread for

Through this region--now The Valley of Parks--Boone blazed his famous
trace and Governor Shelby built the first wagon road through the
wilderness from infant Kentucky to Mother Virginia. Along the way a
pleasant reminder of an almost forgotten past is that of the Wilderness
Road Weavers busy at loom and wheel. They process cloth from wool and
flax before your eyes and explain with care the art of making homemade
dyes from herb and bark. An older woman pauses with shuttle in hand.
"See the hollow tree off yonder, a mother and her babe hid there to
escape the Indians. And the cabin over there with the picketin' fence
around, that's our library now and we've got all sorts of curiosities
there too." A visit within reveals the curiosities to be relics of early
home arts and mountain industries.

Cumberland Falls, Kentucky's Million Dollar State Park, of 593 acres,
was a gift of T. Coleman du Pont and family of Delaware; its chief
attraction is the Falls, once called Shawnee, with the profile of an
Indian plainly to be seen in jutting rock over which the roaring
cataract plunges near Corbin and Williamsburg. In this once Dark and
Bloody Ground there is amazing beauty; on July 1st, 1941, Mammoth Cave,
the twenty-sixth National Park, was dedicated with imposing ceremonies,
adding another link to the Park-to-Park plan. If it had not been for the
saltpeter from this cave the Battle of New Orleans would have been lost,
for from this mineral gunpowder that saved the day was made. So vast is
one of its caverns, the Snowball Dining Room, 267 feet underground, that
hundreds of members of the Associated Press held a dinner there in 1940.
Mammoth Cave is reached by U. S. Highway 70, west from Cave City, and
one hundred miles south of Louisville. The vast national park of which
it is a part is watered by the Green River, known to early explorers.

Kentucky's most talked-of cave in recent years is that in which Floyd
Collins lost his life in 1925. The tons of rock in Sand Cave under which
he was trapped did not cause his death, however. Collins died of
pneumonia. His body now lies buried in Crystal Cave, which was Floyd's
favorite of all those he had spent his life in exploring.

One travels cross country from Crystal Cave to the Blue Grass on Russell
Cave Road, along with some of the 45,000 other people who have come
within a single year to see Man o' War, the most famous race horse of
all times. "The Blue Grass region of Kentucky," says Prof. E. S. Good,
head of the department of animal husbandry of the University of
Kentucky, "is the premier breeding ground for light horses because of
its ample rainfall, mild climate, abundance of sunshine and a soil rich
in calcium and phosphorus, so necessary to produce superior bone, muscle
and nerve."

Though mountain men are proud to own a good pair of mules and will
praise the merits of this lowly beast without stint, they generally know
or care little about blooded race horses. They take pride in less
glamorous possessions. For instance, they are proud that in their midst
the McGuffey Readers were still taught by an aged schoolmaster in
defiance of legislation which barred the classics and that the little
log school in which he taught is the first and only shrine in Kentucky
to the illustrious educator, Dr. William Holmes McGuffey, who compiled
the Eclectic Readers which gave the children of America a different,
brighter outlook upon life back in those dark days of Indian warfare.
The McGuffey Log School shrine stands not far from the mouth of Big
Sandy River in Boyd County. Each year hundreds of McGuffey enthusiasts
make a pilgrimage to the humble shrine of learning.

"We've got no end of fine sights to see." Mountain folk are justly
boastful. "Down at Bardstown is the Talbott Tavern built 162 years ago,
one of the first such taverns where travelers could tarry west of the
Alleghenies. On the walls there are the marks of bullets left by the
pistols of Judge John Rowan, who fought a duel with Dr. Chambers and
mortally wounded him. There's Audubon Memorial State Park with all
manner of paintings, books, and pictures left by Audubon, kin of a
French King, who spent many a happy day roaming the hills of Kentucky
and studying the ways of wild birds. And no country can claim a greater
man than was born right here at Hodgenville, and even if we didn't have
a memorial built out of stone to Abraham Lincoln he will live in our
hearts as long as the world stands." The mountaineer who sings the
praises of his native land eyes his listener attentively. "Bless you,
folks are so friendly and kind of heart in Kentucky they even have a
refuge for turkeys. There is a sanctuary for this native American fowl
in the Kentucky Woodlands Wildlife Refuge just west of Canton. And to
make sure the wild creatures do not starve there are vast unharvested
crops grown on the cleared land and left for them to feed upon. Here
too, if travelers will drive slowly along the wooded trails, they are
most sure to come upon a startled deer, for there are more than 2000
roaming in the woodland."

Along with other traditions there survives in Kentucky the medieval rite
of blessing the hounds which takes place usually on the first Saturday
in November. In his clerical robes the Bishop of Lexington, in the heart
of the Blue Ridge, performs the ceremony much in the manner of the
prelates of ages past. With proper solemnity the bishop bestows upon
each huntsman the medal of St. Hubert, patron of the hunt, while the
gay-coated hunters stand with bowed heads and the hounds, eager for the
hunt, move restlessly about the feet of their masters.

Across the Blue Ridge in the Carolinas fox hunting and horseback riding
are sports as popular as in Kentucky. But above all the things in which
the people of the Carolina mountains lead are their matchless
handicrafts, weaving, spinning, and their skill in play-making.

Who hasn't heard of "Prof." Koch, Director of the Carolina Playmakers
and of the group's plays? And the thing about the Playmakers which sets
them apart is that they are chiefly of the mountains. Their plays are
made out of the life of mountain folk. Archibald Henderson declares,
"Koch is the arch-foe of the cut-and-dried, the academic, the
specifically prescribed. All his life he has demanded room for the
random, outlet for the unexpressed, free play for the genius." Nowadays
he travels by caravan with his Carolina Playmakers from coast to coast
that the world may see for itself what genius unrestrained can turn out.
If one wishes to see them, in their own setting, which thousands of us
do every year, there is The Playmakers' Theatre at Chapel Hill, North
Carolina, the first theater building in America to be dedicated to the
making of its own native drama.

"This love of drama is in the blood of Carolinians," they themselves
will tell you. "Get three of them together and before you can say Jack
Robinson they're building a play. A folk play, each one with an idea, a
situation. Why, right over to Kernersville in North Carolina the first
little theater was born. And say, if you want to hear ballad singers,
stop wherever you're a-mind to in the Blue Ridge in the Carolinas and
keep your ears open. There's a fellow over on South Turkey Creek, little
more than a dozen miles as the crow flies from Asheville, and you'll
hear the finest singing of old-time ballads you ever listened to. Mostly
menfolks like best to sing. Womenfolks turn to the loom, particularly in
North Carolina."

A visit to the Weave Shop at Saluda convinces the visitor of the skill
of mountain women. Fabrics of unbelievable beauty are turned out at
handlooms and it is mountain women who lead in the work.

Much has been written on the subject of handicrafts but perhaps the most
comprehensive treatment of the diversified subject is Allen Eaton's
_Handicrafts of the Southern Highlands_.

Through Allen Eaton's knowledge of handicrafts and his untiring efforts
a great service has been rendered the mountain people of the Blue Ridge
in marketing their wares. For he has been instrumental in organizing a
handicraft guild which serves the entire southern mountain region. The
co-operating units cover various phases of handicraft. The Shenandoah
Community Workers of Bird Haven specialize in toy making, while The Jack
Knife Shop of Berea College, the Woodcrafters and Carvers of Gatlinburg,
Tennessee, the Whittlers at the John C. Campbell Folk School in
Brasstown, North Carolina, embrace most every type of handicraft in
their output which is the work of mountain boys and girls.

It was to mountain people that George Washington looked for hope and
help in the hour of our country's need, and two later presidents held
the same opinion. The mother and the wife of a president of these United
States have done likewise.

One winter day more than a score of years ago a group of children
huddled about the pot-bellied stove in a little log church in the
mountains of Georgia. They had trudged through snow and mud and a cold,
biting wind to reach this one-room church house. Though the older folk
were eager to teach the children lessons of Scripture, few of them could
read or write. A mountain child, like every other child, delights in
hearing an older person read, whether it be a make-believe story or a
real story from the Bible. "Wisht you could read the Word," an eager
little girl this winter day said to the old woman who, though she could
neither read nor write, was doing her best to explain from a small
colored leaflet the meaning of the Sunday School lesson.

The story reached the ears of a lady not far away. After that she began
reading Bible stories to the mountain children gathered at a little log
cabin near her home. "Martha Berry didn't need eye specs to see how
eager the children were for learning," one of her mountain friends
remarked, "and then and there she began to ruminate through her mind a
way to help them help themselves. 'Not to be ministered unto, but to
minister,' that was what Martha Berry said from the very first and that
is still the motto of the great institution that has steadily grown up
from the humble beginning in a little one-room log house."

It is an unusual institution of learning with a campus equally unique,
for in its 25,000 acres are a forest, a mountain, and a lake and more
than one hundred buildings which were not only erected by Berry
students, but built from materials also made by them. Here mountain boys
and girls express the fine spirit of independence inherited from their
forbears. Once they enter the Gate of Opportunity, they _earn_ their
education. The mountain boy, with his carpentry, brick-making,
stock-raising, hand-carving, matches his skill in friendly rivalry with
the girl, in her spinning and weaving, making dyes and canning fruits.
In one year the girls canned 50,000 gallons of fruit grown within the
boundary of the Berry Schools.

Boys and girls of the Georgia mountains need not despair nor be backward
while the "Sunday Lady of Possum Trot" keeps open the Gate of
Opportunity to the Berry Schools.

"There's a heap of change here in these mountains for our children. If a
child's afflicted in its nether limbs, it don't need to lay helpless no
more, a misery to itself and everyone else. There's the waters of Warm
Springs and doctors with knowing that are there to help them on foot," a
mountain mother told me last winter when I stopped at her cabin. "Take
the night," she urged. "You can get a soon start in the morning, if you
choose." I accepted her hospitality and she told me much of her early
life there and of crippled children of the mountains who had been
restored through bloodless surgery. Of one boy in particular she told
who for long years had never walked a step until he had been brought to
the healing salt waters. "He can drive a car now and climb a mountain on
foot. He drove an old couple that had bought a new car all the way from
Warm Springs plum acrost the State of Georgia and back again so's he
could travel the Franklin D. Roosevelt Highway. It give him something to
brag about when he got back home." The old woman lifted her eyes to the
hills reflectively. "There have been a heap of people in this country
who stood in the light of their afflicted children claiming it was the
Good Lord's will that they were so and that it was a deep-dyed sin to
try to change them. Some claimed it was a sin against the Holy Ghost to
carve upon their crooked little limbs and shed their life's blood even
though it might make them to walk. Folks with such notions as that are
plum in benighted darkness. But times have changed and it's learning and
good roads that make it. Nohow, there are doctors now with a heap of
learning who can straighten twisted joints of crippled children and
never shed their life's blood. Not nary drop!" The old woman's eyes
widened with incredulity. "I've seen crippled children packed away on a
slide plum helpless and come back home on foot as spry as a wren and
never a scar on their flesh. They've got knowing ways off yonder to Warm
Springs where the doctors and nurse women, to lend a hand, straighten
out the twisted little bodies of many a crippled child. They do say it
is a sight to the world how them little crippled fellers can cavort
around in the salty waters in no time, playful as minner fish in a sunny
mountain brook. And they never shed a drop of their life's blood. So you
see there's always a way around a mountain if you can't climb over it.
And by these new ways of learning the doctors and the nurse women are
not breaking faith with the belief of mountain people. It's a great and
a glorious gospel, I tell you!"

                   *       *       *       *       *

If you climb to the top of a peak in Dug Down Mountains, a spur of the
Blue Ridge that dwindles to a height of 1000 feet in southeastern
Alabama, and take a look at the state--provided the binoculars are
strong enough-you'll see why there's a saying down in that country to
the effect that "Alabama could sleep with her head resting upon the
iron-studded hills of her mineral district, her arms stretched across
fields of food and raiment, and her feet bathing in the placid waters of
Mobile Bay."

This Cornucopia of the South is not sleeping, however; she is on her
feet and bestirring herself and aware of her almost limitless resources.

"She could dig beneath her surface and find practically every chemical
element required in the prosecution of modern war.... She could fire her
guns with 7,529,090 pounds of explosives produced annually in her
mineral mines.... In her hour of victory, she could declare herself the
Queen of the Commonwealth, mold her diadem with gold from Talladega, and
embellish it with rubies from the bed of the Coosa that drains the Dug
Down foothills of the Blue Ridge."

In short, her native sons like to boast, "Alabama could isolate herself
from all the world and live happily forever after."

And lest they forget the past, the first White House of the Confederacy,
where Jefferson Davis lived and ruled, still stands, a grim reminder of
the old South.

                   *       *       *       *       *

How amazed the pioneer dwellers of the Blue Ridge would be if they could
stalk down the mountain side and take a look at what Uncle Sam has been
doing the past eight years! Strange words too would fall upon their
ears, modern-made to suit modern things. What with good roads and autos,
hotels have sprung up thick as mushrooms; so have motels. There's the
Zooseum, combining living curiosities and relics. Pleaz Mosley got
together in a corner of his farm a lot of Indian relics, petrified
oddities, and a few rare varmints, a five-legged calf and a one-eyed
'possum, and housed them in a shack down by the new road that cut
through his bottom land and drew sightseers day after day.

"But Pleaz's Zooseum can't hold a candle to the curiosities down in the
Holston and Tennessee River country," his neighbors say. "Looks like
they just naturally turned loose the briny deep in that country. When
they started in on the job old Grandpap up and spoke his mind. Said he,
'Sich carryings on is destructuous of the Master's handiwork and I don't
countenance it.' He'd set there by his log fire in his house all his
endurin' life. The fire had never went out on that hearth since he was
borned and he told the goverment he didn't aim the embers should die
down whilst he lived. Well, sir, to pacify the old man they up and moved
him, house, log fire and all, up higher in the mountains and him
a-settin' right there by the fire all the time. Now he can look down to
them mighty waters and them public works with his door open and never
jolt his chair away from the hearth."

If Daniel Boone could retrace his steps along the Holston and Tennessee
Rivers perhaps he would gape, too flabbergasted to utter a word. Or he
might ask in dismay, "What's become of my elbow room?" The country he
once roamed with gun and dog has been transformed into a mighty flooded
area to make way for the world's largest project of its kind. At first
much was said back and forth about the Tennessee Valley Authority. Some
viewed it with a dubious eye, called it names--a New Deal experiment, a
merchant of electricity, a threat to private ownership of business, or
again merely a new series of letters in alphabetical government, the
TVA. To isolated mountain folk who came to look as time went on, it was
the plum biggest public works they had ever set eyes on.

Eight years after it was begun--by the middle of 1941--with war
threatening the civilized world, the TVA has become a defense arm.

Uncle Sam at once cast his discerning eye down Tennessee way and his
National Defense Advisory Committee designated the TVA as one of its
defense industries, and an appropriation of $79,800,000 was granted the
Authority, and a call from the defense power program went out for TVA
"to add to its system of ten multi-purpose dams the Cherokee Power Dam
on the Holston River, to build another near the Watts Bar Dam and to
advance work on the Fort Loudoun Dam on the Tennessee River."

"About the only things unchanged are the caves under the earth and the
forests, I reckon," an old mountaineer observes. "They won't never dig
away them Great Smoky Mountains, I'm satisfied, though they've got a
roadway on the very top from Newfound Gap Highway to Clingman's Dome.
And they've got what's left of the Cherokees scrouged off to theirselves
in Qualla Indian Reservation."

Wise and far-seeing men have looked to the preservation of much of
nature's beauty through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which
embraces Little Pigeon Gorge, and Chimney Tops, which command a
breathtaking view of the surrounding country.

"My grandfather journeyed miles on foot over these mountains," a young
man told me one day when I tarried at the Mountaineer's Museum in
Gatlinburg on U. S. Highway 71. "Look over yonder is Le Conte, the
Grand-pappy of Old Smoky Mountain as we say here in Tennessee." He
turned about in the other direction. "And off there the rushing waters
of Little Pigeon turn an old-time mill wheel."

Leaving the alluring sights of Little Pigeon I turned the nose of my
antiquated car toward U. S. Highway 25E to visit Cudo's Cave. It is
electrically lighted and bright as day. A cave that appears to be an
endless chain of rooms. Within are all manner of rock formations, a
Palace, a great Pipe Organ, even a reproduction of Capitol Dome not made
by mortal hand; Petrified Forests, Cascades that seem to be covered with
ice, and a Pyramid said to be eighty-five million years old. And in the
midst of these ageless wonders the names of Civil War soldiers carved on
the stone walls.

"If all this had been on top of the earth," my mountaineer guide
declared, "destructuous man would have laid it waste long ago. Look
about," he urged. "There's every sort of varmint by the Master's Hand,
from a 'possum to an elephant, and even the likeness of the American

Outside the caves which lie under three states, Kentucky, Tennessee, and
Virginia, you look down upon the town of Cumberland Gap to the right of
which are remains of Civil War trenches.

"There are wonders no end to be seen around this country," mountain
people say, "and things maybe never thought of anywhere else."

Perhaps that is not an unlikely statement, considering the stirring
event a few years ago that took place at Dayton, Tennessee, when
Clarence Darrow and William Jennings Bryan argued the question of
evolution pro and con. Or when you know that at the little town of Model
across the Tennessee River from Calloway County, Kentucky, a quiet
minister by the name of James M. Thomas, prints his little paper from
his own handmade type on his own handmade press. It is a tiny paper
called _The Model Star_ and it reaches the far corners of the earth.
Most of its content is of a religious nature, though there are a few
advertisements. While it brings the minister little in financial return
he finds his recompense in the enthusiasm of readers scattered from
Pitcairn Island to Cairo, Bucharest, and Shanghai.

Tennesseans have a way of doing unusual things. And they are a religious
people, especially those who have spent their lives in mountain coves.
There's Sergeant York. He admits he sowed his wild oats in his youth.
"We drinked and gambled," he says, "and we cussed and fit." But when
this giant mountaineer's eyes were opened to the evil of his ways, after
the death of his father, Alvin C. York forsook his old habits once and
for all. When the World War came he declared himself a conscientious
objector. His church--the Church of Christ in Christian Union--held that
war was a sin. York had a terrific struggle deciding his duty between
God and patriotism. He loved his God. He loved his country. He made
every effort to obtain exemption because he firmly believed it a sin to
fight and to kill, even for the sake of one's country. But for all that,
he could not gain exemption. Whereupon York went alone into the
mountains and fervently prayed for guidance. When the voice of God
pointed the way he followed, with the result that all the world knows.

"You might call my escape from death purely a matter of luck, but I know
different," he says. "It was faith in God that kept me safe. I prayed
that day alone on the mountain and asked Him to bring me back home alive
and well and He did. I knowed He would. That's what faith in God will do
for a man."

Alvin York is a true mountain man. He seeks neither praise nor
self-glory. Upon returning from the World War he spurned a fortune in
pictures and vaudeville appearances, refusing steadfastly to
commercialize his war record. And with the same determination he
declined to sell out to small politicians who tried to use him when he
undertook to raise funds to start a school for mountain boys and girls.
Knowing the need of the young people of his Tennessee mountains, York
has made his life purpose to give them "a heap o' larnin'." This he has
continued to do year after year through the York Agricultural School
near Jamestown, Tennessee. Mountain folk call it Jimtown. Now there's a
highway running through the town called York Highway.

Sergeant York likes to sing. He "takened lessons in Byrdstown," and
being especially fond of singing hymns, he acquired the name of "The
Singing Elder." He teaches a Sunday School class and did even before he
went to war. He admits smilingly that his fight with "small politicians"
who wanted to use him and his war record was a worse battle than that of
the Argonne Forest. Alvin York married his childhood sweetheart, Gracie
Williams, upon returning from war, and the Governor of Tennessee
performed the ceremony at Pall Mall where the mountain hero was born. He
is the father of seven children. For some time he served as project
superintendent at a CCC camp in the Tennessee mountains. He is president
emeritus of the school he founded and has written his life's story in a
simple, straightforward way, with never the slightest hint of

When it came to putting in parts of official records and commendation of
his heroism, Sergeant York did so reluctantly. "But it has to be put in,
I reckon." He finally had to give in.

Sergeant York's achievement, capturing single-handed 132 Germans,
killing 20 others, and destroying 35 machine-gun nests stands

This tall, red-headed, freckled mountain man says modestly that he
always was a pretty good shot and that he kept in practice by hunting in
the Tennessee mountains, shooting turkeys and going to shooting matches
that required a pretty steady nerve to hit center of a criss-cross mark.

"I'm happiest here in the Valley of the Three Forks of the Wolf," says
the Singing Elder, "here in Fentress County just across the Kentucky
state line, once the happy hunting ground of Creeks and Cherokees. Hit's
the place I love best with my family, my dogs and my gun. Hit's where I

Looking backward, history shows that mountain men, such as Alvin York,
have always led their countrymen in time of war, as I have pointed out
earlier. In the Civil War the southern highlands sent 180,000 riflemen
to the Union Army. In the Spanish-American War they rushed to the
defense of our country. In the World War, Breathitt County, known for
its fighting blood, had no draft quota, so many of her valiant sons
hastened to volunteer. Though mountain people have suffered the stigma
of family feuds, they have lived to see old rancors forgotten. Hatfields
and McCoys, Martins and Tollivers shoulder their muskets and march
side-by-side when they have to defend their native land.

The Big Sandy country is still filled with patriots. In Floyd County,
the father of eleven sons is not worried about the draft, according to
the _Big Sandy News_, November 15, 1940: "Frank Stamper, Prestonsburg
Spanish-American War veteran, isn't worried about the draft 'catching'
any of his eleven boys, six of whom are of draft age. Five of the bra'
laddies already are infantrymen in the U. S. Army--enlisted men. The
sixth, Harry, from whom the family has not heard in nine years, may also
be in the army now, and not subject to conscription later. Two of his
sons--Everett of Jackhorn, Kentucky, and Avery of Ronda, West Virginia,
were in the World War as volunteers, and when you take in consideration
that Mr. Stamper himself was a volunteer in the Spanish-American War, it
makes the adult population of the family about unanimous in the matter
of patriotism. The five sons in the army now are: Frank, Jr., Paul,
Damon, John and Charles. Mr. Stamper is the father of twenty-seven
children, seventeen of whom are living."


Mountain folk, especially those who have had the misfortune of being
mixed in troubles (feuds to the outside world) believe earnestly that
"when singing comes in, fighting goes out." "Look at the Hatfields and
McCoys," they say. "They make music together now at the home of one side
and now at the home of them on t'other side. They sit side-by-side on
the bench at the Singing Gathering down on the Mayo Trail come the
second Sunday in June every year. Off yonder nigh the mouth of Big
Sandy, across the mountains which once were stained with the blood of
both families. What's more, Little Melissy Hatfield and Little Bud McCoy
even sing together a ballad that tells of the love of Rosanna McCoy for
Devil Anse's son Jonse. And their elders sing hymn tunes long cherished
in the mountain church, whilst tens of thousands gathered on the hills
all around about listen with silent rejoicing over the peace that has
come to the once sorry enemies."

To be sure, there is the singing of folk songs handed down by word of
mouth from generation to generation. When the mountain people are asked
the origin of their music, the usual reply is "My grandsir larnt me this
fiddle tune," or "My Granny larnt me this song-ballet."

Since mountain people have brought their music out of the coves and
hollows for the world to hear through their Singing Gathering and
Festivals, the nation is fast becoming aware of the importance of folk
music in the life of Americans today. Great singers have taken up the
simple songs of our fathers. "Wipe out foes of morale with music," says
Lucy Monroe, New York's "Star Spangled Banner Soprano," director of
patriotic music for RCA-Victor, when she sang on September 11, 1941,
before the National Federation of Music Clubs in New York. "Let's make
certain that when the present crisis is passed, music will have done its
full job of defense," she said enthusiastically. The singer urged
federation members to become soldiers of music. "Let us enlist together
to form a great army of music!" she urged. Miss Monroe was commissioned
by Mayor LaGuardia to devote her efforts to the cause of music for the
Office of Civilian Defense. Whereupon she outlined a four-point program:
1. To visit large plants and industrial centers connected with defense
work to give musical programs and to suggest that the plants begin each
day's activities with playing the Star-spangled Banner--to tell the men
what they are working for. 2. To conduct community sings in large
cities. 3. To collect phonograph records for the boys in army camps,
establishing central depots in every locality in the country. 4. To give
talks, with song illustrations, on the history of the United States of
America in colleges, high schools, women's clubs, and music clubs.

Though some may see folk song, the basis of all music, endangered by
motion pictures, Kurt Schindler, authority on ancient European customs
and collector of folk music in other lands, believes the danger lies in
another direction. "The young students, the modernists, in their great
desire to keep up with the times wish to kill the old things."

All the forces working in America to preserve folk song should share
Kurt Schindler's fears. The press is cognizant of the farflung effort
throughout the land. The _Atlanta Journal_ (September 19, 1928) says,
"The collection and preservation of mountain folk music is a singularly
gracious work and one of rare value to history. Collected in its natural
environment, it is perforce authentic both in tune and idiom, and
sincere collectors are not content with this alone--they complete the
record by tracing the songs to their origins. Such is a most gracious
work and one which lovers of beauty, whether music or in legend or in
local history, throughout the South, would do well to imitate."

Far removed from the metropolitan area where great singers interpret the
simple songs of our forbears and urge the necessity of their
preservation, an untrained mountain minstrel is lending his every effort
to aid not only in conserving but in correlating as well the folk lore
of the Blue Ridge Country. He is a kinsman of Devil Anse Hatfield and
lives just around the mountain from where the old warrior lies buried.
"Sid Hatfield never was mixed up in the troubles in no shape nor
fashion," anyone can tell you. "He'd not foir a gun if you laid one in
his hand. But just give him a fiddle! Why, Sid Hatfield is the
music-makinest fellow that ever laid bow to strings. What's more he puts
a harp in his mouth and plays it at the same time he's sawin' the bow.
I've seen him and hear-ed him, many's the time."

And so have thousands of others. For Sid Hatfield spends his spare time,
when he's not working for the Appalachian Power Company in Logan County,
West Virginia, making music first at one gathering, then another. Sid's
repertoire is almost limitless. He plays any fiddle tune from Big Sandy
to Bonaparte's Retreat. And when it comes to the mouth harp, Sid just
naturally can't be beat. "I love the old tunes," he says, "and they must
not die. You and I can help them to live. Let old rancors die, but not
our native song."

To that end he has become a prime mover in a folksong and folklore
conservation movement called American Folkways Association. "There are a
lot of McCoys," he says, "who can pick a banjo and sing as fine a ditty
as you ever heard. There's Bud McCoy over on Levisa Fork. Never saw his
betters when it comes to picking the banjo. We've played together a
whole day at a stretch and never played the same tune twice. We just
stop long enough to eat dinner and then we go at it again. Bud's
teaching his grandson, Little Bud, and he's not yet five year old.
Little Bud can step a hornpipe too. Peert as a cricket!" A slow breaking
smile lights Sid's open countenance. "Reckon you've heard of our
Association," and, not giving anyone time to answer, Sid is off on the
subject nearest and dearest to his heart. "We've got the finest
Association in the country. Got a nephew of Fiddling Bob Taylor in our
Association and by next summer we aim to hold a Singing Gathering down
in his country--the Watauga country in Tennessee. Folsom Taylor, that's
his name and he's living now in the far end of the Blue Ridge in
Maryland. He helped us with the Singing Gathering we held in the
Cumberlands in Maryland this past summer. We've got another helper down
in Tennessee. His name is Grady Snead. He was in the World War and about
lost his singing voice but he's not lost any of his spirit for mountain
music and old-time ways. Why, every summer ever since Grady got back
from the war he's gathered his people around him in Snead's Grove--he
owns quite a few acres down in Tennessee--and they have an old-time
picnic and they have hymn singing and ballad singing and fiddle music.
This past summer our Association joined in with them at the Snead picnic
and you never saw the like that day in Snead's Grove. People thick as
bees and pleased as could be. We started off a-singing a good
old-fashioned hymn all together and that put everybody in good heart.
Never saw such a picnic in all my born days. There's nothing like a good
old-fashioned all-day picnic to make friends among people and then mix
in a lot of good old-time music. That's what Americans were brought up
on and that's what they're going to live on more and more through these
troubled hours and as time goes on."

That day at Snead's Grove, Sid Hatfield told them about the Association
and how already different organizations had united with it. He told of a
preacher over in Maryland who had joined in whole-heartedly. "He's
adopted the great out-of-doors for his temple in which to worship with
song and prayer. Robinson is his name. Reverend Felix Robinson, as fine
a singer and as fine a preacher as you'd ever want to sit under."

Then Sid put down his fiddle and his mouth harp and drawing from his
coat pocket a crumpled paper, he began again. "My friends, I want to
read you this piece in the _Chicago Daily News_. This is the place to
read it. We ought to be warned about what can happen in this country to
our music, by what has happened to some of our people. Though maybe
sometime it's been for the best. This piece was writ by a mighty knowing
man. His name is Robert J. Casey and he flew from Chicago for his paper
the _Chicago Daily News_ to hear with his own ears the music of the
mountains from the lips of mountain singers at Traipsin' Woman cabin on
the Mayo Trail the second Sunday in June, 1938."

There was a moment's breathless silence over the great gathering there
in Snead's Grove. The look of fear and apprehension gave way to that of
eagerness and hope as Devil Anse Hatfield's kinsman read with quiet

"'One breathes a sigh for the Hatfields and McCoys who maintain the
Democratic majority in cemeteries along the West Virginia line. One
voices a word of commendation for the Hatfields and the McCoys who drive
taxi-cabs in Ashland or run quiet, respectable and legal beer parlors in
Huntington. And looking from one group to the other, one realizes that
something has happened to the hill country.

"'A person of imagination standing on the tree-shaded porch of the
Traipsin' Woman cabin up in Lonesome Hollow probably still can hear
echoes of "the singing gathering" which only a few hours ago
demonstrated the essential durability of the hill folks.... Where a day
or two ago there was only a neutral interest in such proceedings, now
people are talking of Elizabethan culture preserved completely for a
matter of centuries by people who lived on the wrong side of the tracks,
just a few rods from the fence of the rolling mills.

"'There is a tendency in some quarters to look upon the sing-festival as
a permanent and predictable community asset. But that is because the
sophisticated and urban population is ignoring the present status of the
McCoys and the Hatfields, as for many years it has ignored the
crack-voiced "ballet" singers and the left-handed virtuosi in its own

Sid Hatfield paused in his reading to say a few words on his own. "There
is one, not calling any names, who discovered a forgotten England in the
Kentucky uplands." He turned again to read from the paper. "'One who set
down the words of the amazing ballads and studied music in order to
capture the changeless arrangements for psaltery, dulcimer and sakbut,
who has no such illusions. The music of the hills today is a thin echo
of tunes that were sung on the village greens in Shakespeare's time.
Tomorrow it will be gone!'" Sid Hatfield's voice lifted in warning.
"'And with it will vanish the early English idiom of the hill
folks--their costumes, their customs, their dances, the singing ritual
of their weddings. Pretty soon there aren't going to be any more hill
folk--if indeed, there are any now.

"'"The Hatfields and McCoys, they were reckless mountain boys," whose
history is now as stale as that of the Capone mob. Their feud, which ...
threatened to provoke a civil war between two states, gave rise to the
general belief in the lasting endurance of the hill dwellers. A race
must be hardy as the ragweed when it could not be exterminated even by
its own patient effort. The tenantry of the flatlands might be excused
for believing that a special Providence intended it to survive, despite
poverty, malnutrition, bad housing and wasting disease forever and ever.

"'And so it might have survived, for the hill people had "the habit of
standing." They had set a precedent of fertility and hardihood and the
will to live for a matter of centuries.... But there had come influences
over which not even the carefully nurtured stubbornness of 300 years
could prevail.... The railroad and the concrete highway and the
automobile and the black tunnels of the coal mine.

"'... The day of isolated communities and isolated culture in the United
States is already past.... The hill folk have been known to the flatland
people chiefly for feuds and moonshine. Perhaps tempers are no less
quick, but it's less trouble to get to court and have grievances
adjudicated according to law. And the music is going--and the
traditional dances. It is one of the defects of all educational systems
that they make it easier for a person to forget by removing the
necessity for his remembering.'"

Sid Hatfield again voiced his own observations. "Time was when old folks
could recall every word of hundreds of ballads." He turned once more to
read from the newspaper in his hand. "'... and every note of a music
whose disregard for melodic rule made it exceedingly difficult to
remember. Now, when such things can be written down, no "grandsir" will
bother to repeat them to the youngins and the youngins will get their
music from the radio. By that time there will be no doubt that Queen
Elizabeth is dead.'"

Devil Anse's kinsman surveyed his listeners. "My friends, we've got
a-bound, me and you and you," he singled out a lad here a man, a woman
there, "to put our shoulders to the wheel and save our old ways and our
old music."

Then he told about the American Folkways Association and its purpose.
"We aim to unify efforts to conserve and cultivate the traditions and
customs of the Blue Ridge Country where conditions are ideal for a
renewed emphasis on living a simple and natural life ... to preserve the
past and present expressions of isolated peoples in the Southern
Appalachians which are untainted by any form of insincerity or
make-believe. There is growing interest among city-bred people in the
folk-ways, and through research and actual experiences, they are
learning to appreciate the simple folk-life that is still intact."

Sid, like Devil Anse, understands crowd psychology, though neither calls
it by that name. Sid had the attention of his hearers and he told them
more. "We're getting our eyes open more every day to the boundless
treasures in America. People all through the Blue Ridge don't aim to
stand by and see things disappear because new ways have come in. They've
started all sorts of gatherings and festivals to keep alive the things
that mean America!"

With quick gesture he enumerated upon his fingers as he named some of
them: "There's the Forest Festival held in October at Elkins, West
Virginia, with a pretty mountain maid for its Queen; the Tobacco
Festival in Shelbyville, Kentucky, that pays homage to the leading
product of the Blue Grass country, next to the race horse, of course;
there's the Mountain Laurel Festival at Pineville, Kentucky, in May,
glorifying the beauty and profusion of the mountain flower; the Virginia
Apple Blossom Festival in April in the Shenandoah Valley at Winchester,
Virginia--a wilderness of blossoms that has made beautiful a once lonely
valley; the Rhododendron Festival in Webster Springs, West Virginia, in
July, that vies in charm with a like event in Kentucky; the Sweet Potato
Festival in Paris, Tennessee, that pays tribute to the yam; the American
Folk Song Festival in the foothills of Kentucky. Then there's the Snead
Picnic that our good friend Grady Snead has been carrying on every
summer ever since he got back from the war across the waters; there's
the Mountain Choir Festival over in Oakland, Maryland, in the month of
August, when hundreds of mountain boys and girls gather together to sing
hymns and old ballads too; there's the Arcadian Folk Festival and the
Poet's Fair and the Arcadian Guild all bunched together at Hot Springs
National Park and McFadden Three Sisters Springs where down in the Ozark
Country folks welcome the advent of 'the Moon of Painted Leaves' and
pattern new dreams in the valley of pastoral fancy, listen to the Pipes
of Pan, meet old friends, and make new ones in a sylvan environment,
where poetry slides down every moonbeam. Every sort of gathering right
where it belongs, where it was cradled through all these long

Sid paused a moment for second wind. "When we look about we're bound to
own this is a mighty changing world. Time was when the mountain people
rode to the gatherings in Brushy Hollow in jolt wagons. They kept it up
a while, loading the whole family in the jolt wagon. But times have
changed.... A body has to sort o' keep up with the times, like Prof.
Koch. Bless you, he loads his whole pack and passel of boys and girls in
a bus and packs them hither and yon 'crost the country to show out with
their play-making. The Carolina Playmakers just naturally fetch the
mountain to Mohammed." Sid flung wide his hands, brought them slowly
together. "To get all such folks to work together that's why we formed
the American Folkways Association. What's more we've got us a magazine
to tell about what we've done and aim to do--the _Arcadian Life_
magazine, with our good friend Otto Ernest Rayburn as editor, 'way down
in the Ozarks." Sid Hatfield smiled pleasantly. "There's no excuse for
folks not being neighborly nowadays. No matter where they live, what
with good roads and the automobile--we've just got a-bound to be
neighborly. To sing together, to make music together, to show out our
crops and our posies and our handiwork together. Here in Snead's Grove
today is the third time we've bore witness that our Association is not
just a theory. We made our first bow in the Kentucky foothills in June,
the second in Maryland in August, and now in Tennessee. In October we
aim to join hands and hearts and our music in Arcadia under the Autumn

That day in Snead's Grove in Tennessee they wanted Sid Hatfield to keep
right on but taking a squint at the sun sinking in the west, he said in
conclusion, "I've got a long ways to travel back to the West Virginia
mountains but I hope we'll all be together again here in the Grove next
summer, this day a year, the Lord being willing."

                            VANISHING TRAIL

Perhaps it is merely the result of evolutionary process, economic rather
than intentional, that man has wiped out many reminders of the past;
that the forest primeval has passed to make room for blue grass,
tasseled corn, and tobacco; that forts and blockhouses gave way to the
settler's log house encircled by a garden patch; that the windowless
cabin has gone to make room for the weather-boarded frame of many rooms
and glass windows; that the village has vanished for the town--the
industrial center.

The Wilderness Trail broken first by mastodon, then panther and bear and
frightened deer, has been transformed into a modern highway. The Shawnee
Trail along which Indians lurked and tomahawked white men has become
Mayo Trail, taking its name from a country schoolteacher. He was a
far-seeing man, who stumbled sometimes hopelessly along the lonely way,
when he needed help to bring out of the bowels of the earth the treasure
in coal he knew to be hidden there. Mayo Trail is an amazing engineering
feat that connects mountains with level land. Limestone Trail in Mason
County has left along its course only a vestige of vegetation to remind
us it was once the path of buffalo and Indian. To motorists hurrying
onward it is merely U. S. 60 that leads to another city.

The rugged, unbroken path once pursued by the lad Gabriel Arthur, a
Cherokee captive, called on Hutchins Map in 1778 the "War Path to the
Cuttawa Country," uniting today with the Wilderness Trails, has become
the open gateway to the West. Boone's Trace, or Boone's Path, leading
from Virginia through Cumberland Gap, to the Ohio River, still is called
Boone's Path. Since 1909 it has been a national motorway, being a part
of the Dixie Highway which runs from Michigan to Florida. It was over
this same path that Governor Duncannon of Virginia built the first wagon
road in 1790. During the Civil War the region of the Gap was fortified
and occupied by Confederate and Union soldiers in turn. Later, in 1889,
the first railroad entered the Gap. Today Skyline Highway--U. S. 25 and
58--leads from the saddle of the historic Gap to the top of Pinnacle
Mountain, commanding a view of six states, Kentucky, Tennessee,
Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama.

And the scene has changed.

Spring has come to the Blue Ridge. The hum of industry echoes along once
lonely creeks, through quiet hollows. We see no more the oxcart
lumbering, creaking laboriously along, higher and higher up the rugged
mountain side. The latest model motor glides swiftly over the smooth
surface, winding its way upward and upward. Off yonder the TVA has
harnessed the waterpower of the Holston and Tennessee, made a great
valley to burst into a miracle of man's genius. Modern industrial plants
steam along the banks.

Good roads, the automobile, schoolhouses, the airplane have wiped out
all barriers between mountain and plain. The Blue Ridge casts a long,
long shadow across blossoming valleys. The mountaineer of yesterday with
his Anglo-Saxon speech of Elizabeth's time, his primitive plow and loom,
has vanished before the juggernaut of progress. But the children of the
hills are blessed with a rich, a priceless heritage in tradition, song,
and love of independence that will not die as long as mountains stand
and men of the mountains survive to defend and preserve it.



Abingdon, Virginia, Declaration of, 31-32
aborigines, 8
adventurers, 15
agriculture, 112-21, 283-89
Alabama, 310
Alamance, Battle of, 28
Allegheny Mountains, 4
American Folk Song Festival, 241
American Folkways Association, 320-27
animal life, 8
Appalachia, 3-4, 5
"Appalachia," by Martha Creech, 210
Apple Blossom Festival, 326
Arcadian Folk Festival, 326
Arcadian Guild, 326
_Arcadian Life_, 327
art exhibit, Kentucky, 250
Arthur, Gabriel, expedition of, 17-18, 328
Ash Lawn, 293
"Ashland Tragedy, The," by Peyton Buckner Byrne, 228
Athiamiowee Trail, 9
_Atlanta Journal_, 319
Audubon Memorial State Park, 304

Bailey, "Mad Anne," 300
ballads, 132, 152, 154, 159, 210-47, 249, 306;
  and music, 43-44;
  patriotic, 239-47
Baltimore, Lord, 7, 12
Bankhead-Jones Tenant Purchase Act, 286
baptism, 60-61
Baptists, 161-64, 268;
  Regular Primitive, 161-64, 266
Bardstown, Kentucky, 304
Barker, George A., "Norris Dam," 245;
  "Skyline Drive," 215
Barton, Bruce, 268
Barton, William E., 268
beliefs, women's, 120-21
belting a tree, 113
Berea College, 259, 307
Berry Schools, 259, 307-10
Big Bone Lick, 8
Big Meeting, 57, 71
Big Sandy Breaks, 301
Big Sandy Improvement Association, 287
_Big Sandy News_, 286, 317
Big Sandy River, 4, 18, 19, 48, 116, 271, 304;
  canalization, 287;
  superstition, 168
"Big Sandy River," by D. Preston, 211
birds, 6-7
black cat, legend of, 189-94
Blackberry Association, 288
blessing the hounds, 305
blindness, conjured, 180-85
block houses, 22
blue grass country, 303
Blue Lick, 35
Blue Ridge Mountains, 4
Blue Ridge Parkway, 292
boats, river, 272
books, 16, 29, 34, 306
Boone, Daniel, 19, 21, 22-39, 295, 302;
   capture by Indians, and escape, 35-36;
   death and grave, 39
Boone, Mrs. Daniel, 24-25
Boone's Trace (Trail; Path), 33, 328
Boonesborough, 35, 37, 39;
   Battle of, 36
Braddock, General, 23
Breaks of the Big Sandy, 301
Breathitt County, Kentucky, 73, 74, 75, 79, 88, 316
Breckinridge, Alexander, 13, 261
Breckinridge, Mrs. Mary, 261
Bryan, William Jennings, 314
Bryans, trek with Boone, 29-30
Buckley, Noah, 169-72
Buffum-Dillam feud, 88-91
"Bundles for Britain," by Jilson Setters, 242
Burchett, Luke, "Jennie Wylie," 219
Burning Spring, 21, 26, 270
Byrne, Peyton Buckner, "The Ashland Tragedy," 228

CCC, 288, 290
CIO, 289-90
Callahan, Ed, 75, 76, 77, 78, 80, 81, 82
Campbell, John C., Folk School, 259, 307
canalization, river, 287
candy pulling, 143-44
"Captain Jinks," 147
Carolina Playmakers, 305-06, 326-27
Carter, Nannie Hamm, "It's Great to Be an American," 239
Casey, Robert J., 322
cat, black, legend of, 189-94
Catlettsburg, Kentucky, 116, 271-72
Caudill, Mrs. Lydia Messer, 250
caverns, 186, 292, 300, 303, 313
Cawood, Mrs. Herbert C., 283
Chapel Hill, North Carolina, 306
Charette, Missouri, 38
Cherokees, 18, 32, 312, 328;
  legend, 186-89
_Chicago Daily News_, 322
Child, lost, finding of, 170-72
Christmas, Old and New, 158-61
"Church in the Mountains," by Jessie Stewart, 222
church music, 268
churches, new, 266
cider press, old, 302
Civil War, 47, 55, 72, 231, 310, 313, 316, 328
Civilian Conservation Corps, 288, 290
claims, land, 32
climate, 7, 41
Clinch Valley, 30
coal mining, 250-51
coal mining and miners, yesterday and today, 273-83
"Coal Queen," 283
Cockrell, James, 74-81
Cockrell-Hargis feud 73-88
Collins, Floyd, 303;
  ballads of, 235, 237
Confederacy, White House, 310
Congress of Industrial Organizations, 289-90
conjuring, 180-85
conservation, 288
Constitution, first American, 29
"convicts," early, 16
corn, grinding of, 112-13
Cornstalk, Chief, 300
corpse, winking, legend of, 203-05
country dances, 148
County Coal Operators' Association, 283
courting and song, 122-34
cow, poisoned, 174-75
Craft, Uncle Chunk, 72-73
Crawford, Bruce, 294-99
Creech, Martha,
  "Appalachia," 210;
  "The Robin's Red Breast," 218;
  "Woman's Way," 226
Crisp, Adam, "Floyd Collins' Fate," 237
crocheting, 120-22
Crockett's Hollow, legend of, 180-85
crops, 112-21
croup, curing, 171
crown, death, 177-78
Crystal Cave, 303
Cudo's Cave, 313
"Cumberland," origin of use of name, 20
Cumberland Falls Park, 302-03
Cumberland Gap and Mountain, 4, 20, 26, 30, 33, 46, 313, 328-29
Cumberland Plateau, 4, 19
Cumberland River, 3, 19
customs, religious, 155-67
Cuttawa country, 17, 19

dancing, 145-50;
  modern, 264-65;
  wedding, 153
Darrow, Clarence, 314
Davis, Esther Eugenia, "West Virginia," 214
Davis, Jefferson, 310
Dayton, Tennessee, 314
death, omens of, 177-79
death crown, 177-78
"Death of Mary Fagin, The," by Bob Salyers, 232
Declaration of Abingdon, Virginia, 31-32
Declaration of Independence, 34
deer woman and fawn, legend of, 194-99
Delisle, map, 19
Dillam-Buffum feud, 88-91
dipping snuff, 289
divining rod, use of, 169-72
Dixie Highway, 328
doctor, mountain, ballad of, 223
doctor, wizard, 190
doctors, 173-74, 261
Donegal, Lord, 12
"Downfall of Paris, The," by Coby Preston, 246
drives. _See_ highways
Dug Down Mountains, 105, 310
Duke, Effie and Richard, ballad of, 234
Duncannon, Governor, 328
Duquesne, Captain, 36

Eaton, Allen, _Handicrafts of the Southern Highlands_, 306
education. _See_ schools
electrification, rural, 263-64
Elizabeth, Queen, 10, 43
Evans, Lewis, map, 19
evolution trial, 314
excise laws, hatred of, 11, 43
explorers, 16

Fagin (Phagan), Mary, ballad of, 232
fairs, state, 284
families, large, 285-86
family honor, 106-11
Farm Security Administration, 284, 285, 286, 287
farming, 112-21, 283-89
"Fate of Effie and Richard Duke, The," by Coby Preston, 234
"Fate of Floyd Collins, The," by Jilson Setters, 235
fauna, 8
feather, white, 178-79
festivals, 325-26
feuds, 45-111;
  ballad on, 216;
  vanishing feudist, 248-55.
  _See also_ family names
fighting and singing, 317-27
Flanery, Mrs. Mary Elliott, 262-63
flora, 5-6, 56
"Floyd Collins' Fate," by Adam Crisp, 237
Foley, Ben, 105-11
Foley, Jorde, 105-11
Foley Sods, 105
folk festivals, 325-26
folk lore, and conservation of, 320-27
folk singing, 317-27
Folk Song Festival, 241
Folkways Association, American, 320-27
foot-washing, 161-64, 266, 268-69
Forest Festival, 325
forestry, 288
forests, national, 300, 301
Fort Boone, 39
fortunes and riddles, 135-50
fox hunting, 305
Frank, Leo M., ballad of, 232
Franklin D. Roosevelt Highway, 309
Frazier's Knob, 302
Frontier Nursing School, 261
Fugate, Chester, 74-75
funeralizing, 155-58, 267
furs, 17, 19, 22
Future Farmer Association, 283

games, kissing, 144
Gandy Sinks, 300
Garrett, Aunt Sallie, 55-72
Garrett, William Dyke, 55-72, 201, 202, 295
Gentry, Pol, legend of, 189-94
geography song, 128-29
Georgia Warm Springs, 308-10
Good, Professor E. S., 303
"Good Shepherd of the Hills," 55-72
Great Kanawha River, 37
Great Meadows, and Battle of, 23, 26
Great Smoky Mountains National Park, 292, 312-13
Green River, 19, 303
Greene, General Nathanael, 19
Greenup (Hangtown), Kentucky, 231

Hamm family Eisteddfod, 239
handicrafts, 306-07
_Handicrafts of the Southern Highlands_, by Allen Eaton, 306
Hangtown (Greenup), Kentucky, 231
Hargis, Beach, and murder of father, 79, 82-87
Hargis, Elbert, 254-55
Hargis, Judge James, and murder by son, 75-87
Hargis-Cockrell feud, 73-88
Harkins, Hugh, 269-70
Harkins, Walter Scott, 269-71
Harlan, Kentucky, 283
Harlan Mining Institute, 283
Hart, "Honest" John, 15
Hart, Nathaniel, 32
Hatfield, "Devil Anse," 46-67, 250;
  anecdote of, 62-63;
  conversion and baptism of, 63-67;
  ghost, 199-202;
  statue of, 199-202;
  stories told by, 49-54
Hatfield, Jonse, 251
Hatfield, Levisa Chafin, 46-72;
  grave, 200
Hatfield, Sid, 320-27
Hatfield, Tennis, 251
Hatfield burying ground, 199-202
Hatfield-McCoy feud, 46-72
Hatfields and McCoys, reunion, 254-55;
  singing together, 317-27
haunted house, legend of, 205-09
Hedrick, Ray, and his "haunted house," 205-09
Henderson, Archibald, 305
Henderson, Richard, 32, 37
Hennepin, Louis, 18
Henry, Patrick, 30
highways, 291-93, 309, 315, 328, 329
hill people, tribute to, 322-25
"hill-billies," 41-42
Hindman Settlement School, 259
Hodgenville, Kentucky, 304
Holden, West Virginia, 282-83
Holston River, 17, 33
home industry, 117-19, 262, 306-07
honor, family, 107-11
horses, race, 303-04
hospitality, 42
hounds, blessing of the, 305
house with the green gables, legend of, 205-09
hunters and trappers, 17
Huraken and Manuita, legend of, 186-89
Hutchins, Thomas, map, 19, 228
hymns, 66, 67, 70-71, 157-58, 162-63

illiteracy, 40;
  adult, school for, 260
improvements, modern, 263-64
Indents, 15
independence, spirit of, 286
Indians, 9-10, 13, 15, 17, 18, 21-22, 28, 30, 33, 35;
  legend, 186-89;
  picture language, 9-10;
  ways and customs, 9-10
industry, home, 117-19, 262, 306-07
infantile paralysis, 308-10
infare wedding, 151-54
Ireland, English invasion of, 10-11;
  oppression of, 11-12
"It's Great to Be an American," by Nannie Hamm Carter, 239

Jack Knife Shop, 307
James I of England, 10
James, Frank, 49, 51-52
Jefferson, Thomas, 293
Jefferson National Forest, 301
"Jennie Wylie," by Luke Burchett, 219
Jett, Curt, 74-81, 88
John C. Campbell Folk School, 259, 307
Jones-Wright feud, 73

Kentucky, art exhibit, 250;
  beginning of colonization, 32;
  first white man in, 18;
  past, commemoration of, 301-02
_Kentucky Progress Magazine_, 259
Kentucky River, 18, 19, 33, 35
Kentucky Woodlands Wildlife Refuge, 305
Kernersville, North Carolina, 306
killings, 42, 43
kissing games, 144
Koch, "Prof.," 305-06, 326-27

labor, coal-mine, yesterday and today, 273-83
land claims, 32
_Land of Saddle-Bags, The_, by Dr. James Watt Raine, 16, 34
land-purchase program, 286
land reclamation, 284
Lawton, John and Dessie, story of, 58-59
learning. _See_ schools
legends, 180-209, 218
Levi Jackson Wilderness Road State Park, 302
Levisa River. _See_ Louisa River
Limestone Path, 9, 328
Lincoln, Abraham, 304
Little Theatre, 305-06
Logan Wildcats, 47, 55
logging and loggers, 5-6, 112-17, 270, 271-72, 288;
  superstition, 168
London bombing, ballad on, 241
Louisa (Levisa) River, 21, 46
"Love of Rosanna McCoy, The," by Coby Preston, 216
Loyal Land Company, 19-21, 49
lumbering. _See_ logging
lynchings, 74, 96-97

Main Island Creek, 250
Mammoth Cave and National Park, 288, 303
Man o' War, 303
Manuita and Huraken, legend of, 186-89
maps, and making of, 18-19, 328
Marcum, James B., 74-81
marriages. _See_ Weddings
Martha Berry School, 259, 307-10
Martin-Tolliver feud, 91-104, 203-05;
  end of, 249
May, A. J., 287
Mays, John Caldwell Calhoun, 273
Mayo (Shawnee) Trail, 301, 317, 322, 328
McCoy, Harmon, 46
McCoy-Hatfield feud, 46-72
McCoys and Hatfields, reunion of, 254-55;
  singing together, 317-27
McGuffey, Dr. William Holmes, Readers, and shrine, 128, 289, 304
McIntyre, O. O., 267
McNeely, Reverend John, 70
Mecklenburg, North Carolina, Resolutions, 22, 34
medicine, 261
Meeting, Big, 57, 71
meetings, religious, 155
memorials, 267
men, mountain, 269-72
minerals and soil, 8
mining, coal. _See_ Coal
_Model Star, The_, 314
Monongahela National Forest, 300
Monroe, James, 293
Monroe, Lucy, 318
Monticello, Virginia, 293
Moonlight School, 260
"moonshine," 43, 46-111, 248, 255-58;
  origin of, 11
Morehead, Kentucky, 249-50
Morgan, General John Hunt, 72
Morgan's Riflemen, 34
Mosley, Pleaz, Zooseum, 311
mound builders, 8, 9
Mountain Choir Festival, 326
"Mountain Doctor," by Jilson Setters, 223
Mountain Laurel Festival, 325
"Mountain Preacher," by D. Preston, 221
"Mountain Singers," by Rachel Mack Wilson, 228
"Mountain State" (West Virginia), 294-300
"Mountain Woman," by John W. Preble, Jr., 225
mountaineers, the, 40-45
Mountaineer's Museum, 313
mountains, 4-5
murders, 42, 43
museums, 311, 313
music, and ballads, 43-44;
  church, 268

Neely, Matthew M., 295, 297
neighborliness, 44-45
Nelson's Riflemen, 34
New Light, 164-67
"Norris Dam," by George A. Barker, 245
North Carolina, settlement, 21-22, 26-29
Nursing School, Frontier, 261

"Oh, Brother, Will You Meet Me!" 157
oil, 270-71
Old Buffalo Path, 9
"Old Time Waterfront," by Coby Preston, 213
omens of death, 177-79
oratory, 155

paleontology, 8
Paris, downfall of, ballad on, 246
Park-to-Park Highway, 291-93
parks, national and state, 288, 291, 292, 302-03, 304, 312-13
parkways. _See_ highways
Partlow, Deborah, story of, 60-61
paths. _See_ trails
patriotic ballads, 239-47
Pearl, William, 302
Pennsylvania, Proprietors of, 13
people of the Blue Ridge, 10
petroleum, 270-71
Phagan (Fagin), Mary, ballad of, 232
physicians, 261
picture language, Indian, 9-10
Piedmont Plateau, 4
pig, bewitched, 189-94
Pilot Knob, 26
Pinnacle Mountain, 329
pioneers, 10
play-game songs, 145-48
play-making, 305-06
Playmakers' Theatre, 306
poems, mountain, 210-47
Poets' Fair, 326
"Pop Goes the Weasel," 148-50
poteen, 11, 43
Powell Valley, 30
preachers, mountain, 267-69
Preble, John E., Jr., "Mountain Woman," 225
Preston, Coby,
  "Old Time Waterfront," 213;
  "The Downfall of Paris," 246;
  "The Fate of Effie and Richard Duke," 234;
  "The Love of Rosanna McCoy," 216
Preston, D.,
  "Big Sandy River," 211;
  "Mountain Preacher," 221
Prestonsburg, Kentucky, 272
Primitive Baptists, Regular, 161-64, 266
products of the soil, 112-21
progress, gains and losses by, 264-69
Proprietors, Pennsylvania, 13
public works, 274-83
purchase, land, program for, 286

quilts, 120-21;
  poem on, 226
quitrents, 13-14

race horses, 303-04
Raine, Dr. James Watt, _The Land of Saddle-Bags_, 16, 34
rainfall, 7
Rangers, 21-22, 27
Rayburn, Otto Ernest, 327
reclaiming the wilderness, 248-329
reclamation, soil, 284
"recorder, the," 43
redemptioners, 15
Reffitt, Aunt Lindie, 135-43
reforestation, 288
Refuge, Kentucky Wildlife, 305
Regular Primitive Baptists, 161-64, 266
Regulators, 27, 28
religious customs, 155-67
rent system, 13-14
reptiles, 7
Revolutionary War, 34;
  battle monument, 300;
  commemorating, 290
Rhododendron Festival, 326
riddles and fortunes, 135-50
river boats, 272
river improvement, 287
rivers, 3-4
roads, improvement of, 286, 287
Robertson, James, expedition of, 27-29
"Robin's Red Breast, The," by Martha Creech, 218
Robinson, Reverend Felix, 321-22
Rockcastle River, 18
Rockefeller, John D., Jr., 294
Roosevelt, Franklin D., Highway, 309
Roosevelt, Theodore, _The Winning of the West_, 29
Rowan County, Kentucky, 92, 250-51, 260;
  art exhibit, 250
"Rowan County Troubles, The," 249
rug-making, 262
rural electrification, 263-64
Russell, Captain William, 29
Russell Cave Road, 303

"Sad London Town," by Jilson Setters, 241
Saint Valentine Day charm, 136-37
salt licks, 8
Saltpeter Cave, 186
Salyers, Bob, "The Death of Mary Fagin," 232
Sand Cave, 303
Schindler, Kurt, 319
schools, 258-62.
  _See also_ names of schools and colleges
Scopes trial, 314
Scotch-Irish, 10-14, 31
Seneca Caverns, 300
"Sergeant York," by Jilson Setters, 243
Setters, Jilson, and his ballads:
  "Bundles for Britain," 248;
  "Mountain Doctor," 223;
  "Sad London Town," 241;
  "Sergeant York," 243;
  "The Fate of Floyd Collins," 235
settlers, 10
Sewell, Willie, 73
Shawnee (Mayo) Trail, 9, 301, 317, 322, 328
Shawnees, 18, 19
Shelby, Isaac, 302
Shenandoah Community Workers, 306
Shenandoah National Park, 291, 292
Shenandoah Valley, 4, 13
showboat, 116-17
silver mine, lost, legend of, 186-89
Silver Moon Tavern, 251-55
silver tomahawk, legend of, 186-89
singing and songs, courting, 133-34;
  folk, 317-27;
  Gatherings, 317-27;
  geography song, 128-29;
  mountain, 210-47;
  mountain, poem on, 228;
  play-game, 145-48;
  school, Philomel Whiffet's, 122-34;
  societies, 266
Skyline Caverns, 292
Skyline Drive, 291-93, 329
"Skyline Drive," by George A. Barker, 215
Smith, Kate, 260
snakes, 7;
  use in religious services, and bites, 164-67
Snead, Grady, and his picnic, 321, 326, 327
Snow Bird, legend of, 300
snuff, dipping, 289
soil, and minerals, 8;
  products of, 112-21;
  reclamation, 284
Songs. _See_ singing and songs
Sorghum Association, 287
sorghum making, 118-19
Spanish-American War, 316
"speakings," 155
Speleological Society, 300
Spring, Burning, 21, 26, 270
Spurlock Station, 272
Stamper, Fred, 317
Stewart, Mrs. Cora Wilson, 260
Stewart, Jessie, "Church in the Mountains," 222
stills. _See_ "moonshine"
superstitions, 168-79, 180, 181
surgery, primitive, 173-74
Sweet Potato Festival, 326
Swindle Cave, 186

TVA, 311-12
taffy pulling, 143-44
Talbott Tavern, 304
Taylor, Fiddling Bob, 290
Taylor, Folsom, 321
tenant purchase program, 286
Tennessee, 311-17;
  first permanent settlement, 26
Tennessee River, 3, 4, 19
Tennessee Valley Authority, 311-12
Theatre, Little, 305-06
Thomas, Reverend James M., 314
timber. _See_ logging
Tiptons, the, legend of, 180-85
Tobacco Festival, 325
Tolliver-Martin feud, 91-104, 203-05;
  end of, 249
tomahawk, silver, legend of, 186-89
topography, 8
tradition, 122-54
trails, 9-10, 17, 19, 20, 26, 33, 39, 273, 328
Traipsing Woman cabin, 322-23
Transylvania, and Company, 32-35, 36-38
trappers and hunters, 17
trees, 5-6;
  belting, 113.
  _See also_ lumber
turkey refuge, 304-05
"Twa Sisters," 152

Unaka Mountains, 5

Valley of Parks, 302
Valley of Virginia, 17
"Vauxhall Dance," 50
Virginia Apple Blossom Festival, 326
Virginia reel, 148-50
vote, women's, 263

WPA, 289
Walker, Dr. Thomas, expeditions of, 19-21, 46, 49, 270, 301
Warm Springs, Georgia, 308-10
Warrior's Path, 9, 17, 19, 20, 26, 33, 273
Washington, George, 23, 34, 292, 296
Watauga Association, 29, 290
Watauga country, 25;
  settlement of, 26-29
Watauga River, 32
water-witch, 169-72
watercourses, 7
Weave Shop, 306
weavers, Wilderness Road, 303
weddings, infare, 151-54;
  on horseback, unlucky, 172-77
Wellford, Clate, 274-83
wells, finding, 169-72
West Virginia, 294-300
"West Virginia," by Esther Eugenia Davis, 214
_West Virginia Review_, 295
Whiffet, Philomel, singing school, 122-34
whiskey, 11, 43.
   _See also_ "moonshine"
white feather, 178-79
Whittlers, 307
whittling, 259
wilderness, reclaiming, 248-329
Wilderness Road Weavers, 302
Wilderness Trail, 33, 39, 328
Wildlife Refuge, Kentucky, 305
Williamsburg, Virginia, 294
winking corpse, legend of, 203-05
_Winning of the West, The_, by Theodore Roosevelt, 29
witch, legend of, 189-94
witchcraft, 180-85
wizard doctor, 190
woman, mountain, 262-64, 272;
  poems on, 225, 226;
  work, 117-21, 263-64
woman suffrage, 262
"Woman's Way," by Martha Creech, 226
Wood, Colonel Abraham, 17
Woodcrafters and Carvers, 307
Works Progress Administration, 289
works, public, 274-83
World War, 316, 317
Wright, Judge William, 260
Wright-Jones feud, 73
Wylie, Jennie, ballad of, 219

Yadkin River, 4
York, Sergeant Alvin C., 295, 314-16;
  ballad of, 243;
  school, 259, 315
York Highway, 315
Yorktown, Virginia, 294
Young, Judge Will, 88
younger generation, the, 264-66

Zimmerman, Dr. C. C., 285
Zooseum, Mosley's, 311

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Blue Ridge Country" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.