Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year

The Battle of Stones River

Murfreesboro, Tennessee

One hundred and forty-eight years ago today . . .

After Gen. Braxton Bragg’s defeat at Perryville, Kentucky, October 8, 1862, he and his Confederate Army of the Mississippi retreated, reorganized, and were redesignated as the Army of Tennessee. They then advanced to Murfreesboro, Tennessee, and prepared to go into winter quarters. Maj. Gen. William S. Rosecrans’s Union Army of the Cumberland followed Bragg from Kentucky to Nashville. Rosecrans left Nashville on December 26, with about 44,000 men, to defeat Bragg’s army of more than 37,000. He found Bragg’s army on December 29 and went into camp that night, within hearing distance of the Rebels.

At dawn on the 31st, Bragg’s men attacked the Union right flank. The Confederates had driven the Union line back to the Nashville Pike by 10:00 am but there it held. Union reinforcements arrived from Rosecrans’s left in the late forenoon to bolster the stand, and before fighting stopped that day the Federals had established a new, strong line. On New Years Day, both armies marked time. Bragg surmised that Rosecrans would now withdraw, but the next morning he was still in position. In late afternoon, Bragg hurled a division at a Union division that, on January 1, had crossed Stones River and had taken up a strong position on the bluff east of the river. The Confederates drove most of the Federals back across McFadden’s Ford, but with the assistance of artillery, the Federals repulsed the attack, compelling the Rebels to retire to their original position.

Bragg left the field on the January 4-5, retreating to Shelbyville and Tullahoma, Tennessee. Rosecrans did not pursue, but as the Confederates retired, he claimed the victory. Stones River boosted Union morale. The Confederates had been thrown back in the east, west, and in the Trans-Mississippi.

To visit the Stones River National Battlefield Park:  Click Here.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

My Kind of Blog: Cemetery Explorers

Its author says...

I created this blog to show people that cemeteries are wonderful places full of history, architecture and sometimes an occasional ghost story. I hope everyone enjoys what this blog has to offer whether you're an amateur explorer, history buff or just somebody willing to learn about these beautiful places...

To explore some cemeteries: Click Here.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The National Archives' New Online Public Access Prototype

Washington, DC. . . The National Archives and Records Administration’s new Online Public Access prototype is being made available to the public as of Monday, Dec. 27, 2010,

The National Archives’ flagship initiative in our Open Government plan is to develop online services to meet the 21st century needs of the public. It is also a key component of our agency’s Transformation Plan, to be customer-focused and ensuring our nation’s heritage is accessible to all.

The Online Public Access prototype is the public portal that provides access to digitized records, and information about our records. It also provides a centralized means of searching multiple National Archives resources at once. Currently, researchers perform separate searches in the Archival Research Catalog (ARC) for catalog descriptions, histories and biographies; Access to Archival Databases (AAD) for electronic records; and The new interface illustrates a streamlined search experience for users, searching across all of these resources.

The prototype currently contains all of the data from ARC, and seven series from AAD, containing 10.9 million permanent electronic records. Additionally, the prototype provides access to one million electronic records currently in the Electronic Records Archives, which are not available elsewhere online.

The National Archives will add additional functionality in the coming year, including an image zooming feature that will enable users to zoom and pan our online holdings, and social sharing through Facebook, Twitter, and other sites.

The National Archives is asking the public for feedback to ensure a user-friendly search and display.

To try the prototype: Click Here.

To view a demonstration video: Click Here.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Online Genealogical Software

There are many genealogical software programs designed for personal use which are installed and used on your own computer. But what do you do if you want to have multiple users sharing and updating the same database from different locations? One answer is to use online genealogical software and databases.

For a detailed review of the some of the available options by the inimitable Dick Eastman of Eastman's Online Genealogical Newsletter: Click Here.

Monday, December 27, 2010

The Benefits of Thinking About Our Ancestors

The British Psychological Society
Research Digest Blog

Psychologists have shown previously that thinking about our own mortality - 'where we're going' - prompts us to shore up our cultural world view and engage in self-esteem boosting activities. Little researched until now, by contrast, are the psychological effects of thinking about where we came from - our ancestors.

Anecdotally, there's reason to believe that such thoughts are beneficial. Why else the public fascination with genealogy and programmes like the BBC's Who Do You Think You Are? Now Peter Fischer and his colleagues at the Universities of Graz, Berlin and Munich have shown that thinking about our ancestors boosts our performance on intelligence tests - what they've dubbed 'the ancestor effect'.

To continue reading: Click Here.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Mountain Stewards

In the fall of 2003, the Mountain Stewards began to restore some of the traditional trails that meander throughout the Southern Appalachians. The origins of some of these mountain trails date to the time of the Cherokees. Others were built by the early pioneering families. Still other were constructed by logging companies and some were put in by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930's. All of these trails remain in existance. Indian Trail Trees dot the region, remnants of the Native American culture before the white settlers arrived in the nineteenth century. Settlers left their mark as well. Home sites can still be located and the debris from the stills of the moonshiners that once haunted these mountains still stand in some of the hollows. Aside from the occasional sign of our ancesters' presence, these trails weave through the natural wilderness of the oldest mountain range on the planet.

To check out their web site: Click Here.

Note: This site has a good deal of information and many pictures. Be sure to see the sections on their Trail Tree Project and Indian Trails Project.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

Friday, December 24, 2010

"Brightest and Best"

“On Old Christmas Eve we’d sit fore the fire and Mom and Dad and Granny’d atell us about the baby Jesus born in a stable on this night, and they’d say that if we’d go out at midnight we’d see the elderberry bush blooming in the fence corner right in the snow, and that if we’d peep in through a chink in our stable and make no racket atall we’d see the cow and the old mule kneeling, paying honor to the little King of Kings. Then maybe Granny’d sing us her Christmas carol, “Brightest and Best,” in the old mountain tune, and we’d all sing some…That used to be our Christmas.”

Jean Ritchie, Singing Family of the Cumberlands
University Press of Kentucky, 1988

Brightest and Best

Hail the blest morn
See the Great Mediator
Down from the regions of Glory descend!
Shepherds, go worship the Babe in the manger,
Lo, for the a guard the bright angels attend.

Brightest and best of the sons of the morning,
Dawn on our darkness and lend us Thine aid
Star of the East, the horizon adorning,
Guide where our infant Redeemer is laid.

Cold on His Cradle the dew-drops are shining
Low lies His head with the beasts of the stall;
Angels adore Him in slumber reclining
Maker and Monarch and Savior of all.

Vainly we offer each ample oblation,
Vainly with gifts would His favor secure;
Richer by far is the heart’s adoration,
Dearer to God are the prayers of the poor.

Shall we not yield Him in costly devotion,
Odors of Edom and offerings divine,
Gems of the mountains and pearls of the ocean,
Myrrh from the forest and gold from the mine?

Note: Jean Ritchie (born in 1922) is the best known and most respected singer of traditional ballads in the United States. Born in Viper, Kentucky, she comes from a family of musicians who have preserved folk traditions for generations.

This Melungeon Studies blog entry was lifted shamelessly from a back issue of Dave Tabler's ever-excellent Appalachian History blog.

To visit it: Click Here.

For more on Jean Ritchie: Click Here.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Littell's Living Age: The Melungens, March 1849

We give to-day another amusing and characteristic sketch from a letter of our intelligent and sprightly correspondent, sojourning at present in one of the seldom-visited nooks hid away in our mountains.

You must know that within ten miles of this owl's nest, there is a watering-place, known hereabouts as 'black-water Springs.' It is situated in a narrow gorge, scarcely half a mile wide, between Powell's Mountain and the Copper Ridge, and is, as you may suppose, almost inaccessible. A hundred men could defend the pass against even a Xerxian army. Now this gorge and the tops and sides of the adjoining mountains are inhabited by a singular species of the human animal called MELUNGENS.

The legend of their history, which they carefully preserve, is this. A great many years ago, these mountains were settled by a society of Portuguese Adventurers, men and women--who came from the long-shore parts of Virginia, that they might be freed from the restraints and drawbacks imposed on them by any form of government. These people made themselves friendly with the Indians and freed, as they were from every kind of social government, they uprooted all conventional forms of society and lived in a delightful Utopia of their own creation, trampling on the marriage relation, despising all forms of religion, and subsisting upon corn (the only possible product of the soil) and wild game of the woods.

These intermixed with the Indians, and subsequently their descendants (after the advances of the whites into this part of the state) with the negros and the whites, thus forming the present race of Melungens.

For the complete article: Click Here.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Indian-Pioneer Papers

University of Oklahona
Western History Collections

The Indian-Pioneer Papers oral history collection spans from 1861 to 1936. It includes typescripts of interviews conducted during the 1930s by government workers with thousands of Oklahomans regarding the settlement of Oklahoma and Indian territories, as well as the condition and conduct of life there. Consisting of approximately 80,000 entries, the index to this collection may be accessed via personal name, place name, or subject.

To search or browse the collection: Click Here.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Native American Records at the National Archives

Records include but are far from limited to:

# Selected Documents from the Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, 1793 - 1989
# Records of Controversies, 1867 - 1879
# Kern-Clifton Roll of Cherokee Freedmen, January 16, 1867
# Alexander Gardner Portraits of Tribal Delegations to the Federal Government, 1872 and Southeastern Idaho Reservations, 1897
# Wallace Roll of Cherokee Freedmen in Indian Territory, 1890
# Applications for Enrollment in the Five Civilized Tribes, 1898 - 1914
# Index to the Final Rolls of the Five Civilized Tribes in Indian Territory, 1898 - 1914
# Final Rolls of the Five Civilized Tribes in Indian Territory, 1898 - 1914
# Correspondence of Pine Ridge Day School Inspector J. J. Duncan, February 9, 1910 - September 6, 1916
# American Indians, 1881 - 1885
# General Correspondence File of the Albuquerque Indian School, 1881 - 1936
# Index to Applications Submitted for the Eastern Cherokee Roll of 1909 (Guion Miller Roll)
# Records of the U.S. Court of Claims, Completed Guion Miller Roll

For more on these and many, many other Native American records on file at the National Archives: Click Here.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Wantabes and Outalucks

Searching for Indian Ancestors in Federal Records

By Kent Carter
Director, National Archives, Fort Worth Branch

Every year, the staff of the Fort Worth Branch of the National Archives gets thousands of letters from people all over the United States who are trying to prove that an ancestor was an Indian. These researchers comprise what must be one of the largest "tribes" in North America, the Wantabes. People wantabe an Indian for a variety of reasons but most are not successful in their efforts to find proof and thus join the ranks of another very large "tribe", the Outalucks. Many people fail in their genealogical research because they are not familiar with the records of the Federal government which relate to the American Indian. Hopefully, the following information will help researchers avoid becoming an Outaluck.

As with most genealogical research, the best results are obtained by beginning with yourself and working your way backward in time. It is virtually impossible to begin with Pocahontas and Captain John Smith and work your way forward. With the exception of Emmett Starr's Old Cherokee Families and a few similar works, there are very few published genealogies of famous Indians. There is no computer that will provide you with a list of all Geronimo's descendants.

Interviewing family members, especially at picnics and reunions when they may be in a good mood and willing to talk, often provides enough basic information about names, places of residence, and approximate dates of birth and death to allow you to begin the search.

To continue reading: Click Here.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Morgan's Christmas Raid

After the Battle of Perryville, Kentucky on October 8, 1862, Union General Don Carlos Buell was relieved of command and replaced with William S. Rosecrans. Rosecrans renamed the Army of the Ohio and changed the name to the Army of the Cumberland. With his new Army, Rosecrans pushed into Southern territory. In order to keep his army feed and well supplied, he needed to keep the Louisville & Nashville Railroad operating at full capacity. Rosecrans made sure that the Louisville & Nashville Railroad was heavily defended with stockades at the tunnels and bridges.

Confederate General John Hunt Morgan, the “Thunderbolt of the Confederacy”, was a Kentucky native and knew the Louisville & Nashville Railroad well. He decided that the best place to disrupt Rosecrans supply line was at a pair of one hundred foot high trestles that ran for about five hundred feet. They were located below Louisville, Kentucky, just north of Elizabethtown, and ran through Muldraugh’s Hill. After consulting with Confederate General Braxton Bragg, commander of the Army of Tennessee, Bragg gave Morgan permission for his raid.

To continue reading: Click Here.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Guerilla Warfare in Kentucky

In 1863, 1864, and 1865 guerilla warfare plagued Kentucky. Some of the most notorious, bloody thirsty men roamed Kentucky pillaging, looting, and killing. Men like Sue Mundy, Champ Ferguson, Henry Magruder, William Quantrell, and Sam “One Arm” Berry, committed atrocious crimes on not only Union forces but also the general population. Who were these men and how did Kentucky become the center stage for guerilla warfare? This article will focus on the causes behind guerilla warfare, on some of the most notorious guerillas in Kentucky, and their demise.

To continue reading: Click Here.

Note: Tomorrow a raid into Kentucky by the famous Confederate cavalryman John Hunt Morgan will be described in detail.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Big Changes at

By Dick Eastman

The web site has received a major facelift. This site is operated by the National Archives and Records Administration. Now the information is easier to search than ever before.

The website is the public face of a year-long series of changes: from an enhanced social media presence, a revamped Federal Register website and a new Archives researcher wiki space:

* A new homepage selected by user feedback
* Interactive map of Archives locations nationwide
* Streamlined access to historical documents and military service records, which 81 percent of Archives website visitors said they were looking for
* Sections organized by topic, which focused on the needs of both everyday browsers and experienced researchers
* Links to social media sites, including Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube, and Archives blogs

The No. 1 goal, according to Archivist of the United States David S. Ferriero, was making the site more usable.

To continue reading: Click Here.

To visit the revamped National Archives web site: Click Here.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Appalachian Region Maps

University of Kentucky Appalachian Center

Maps that cover the Appalachian Region, as designated by the Appalachian Regional Commission. The maps were compiled at the UK Appalachian Center using various data sources. Clicking on the JPG link will open a low quality version of the map in your browser window. Clicking on the PDF link will open a high quality map in Acrobat Reader, if that is installed.

To see the maps: Click Here.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Historic Map Works Switches to Digital

By Dick Eastman

Charles Carpenter Sr., owner of Historic Map Works, says the company has now digitized millions of maps, atlases and images that previously took up too much space in the company's old location. The project cost $5 million and took five years to complete. The company is hoping to capitalize on the rising interest of genealogy, a multi-billion dollar industry.

Now that Historic Map Works has digitized its entire collection and holds the licenses to those products, Carpenter says the firm is ready to increase paid website subscriptions and will soon launch a Facebook application that will incorporate its search engine, Historic Earth. Carpenter expects both to be available by the end of this year.

The company has more than 2 million images of documents, fine prints, maps and other records online and more than 226,000 images that are geocoded, which means a user can drag an older map of a city or town over a current map to see how various communities have evolved over time. "We have the largest digital collection and online collection in the world," he says. In a room adjacent to Carpenter's office five servers run 240 to 250 terabytes of data, he says. A terabyte is equal to 1,024 gigabytes.

The Historic Earth application, launched last year, allows users to enter a location by city or town in the United States and a few other countries and learn about its evolution from the early 1400s to 2002. The company's website has 15,000 to 20,000 registered users and sees 2,000 site visits per day.

For more information: Click Here.

To visit Historic Map Works: Click Here.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Book Review: Uneven Ground

Failed Policies, Flawed Theories
And the Tragedy of Postwar Appalachia
Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2008
ISBN 978-0-8131-2523-7
By Ronald D. Eller

Reviewed by Kevin Barksdale
Published on H-Appalachia (March, 2009)

In Uneven Ground, historian Ronald D. Eller offers a Braudelian narrative of the social, economic, and political transformation of Appalachia after the Second World War. Focusing primarily on the relationship between relief and development efforts and the deteriorating postwar mountain communities and economy, Eller’s study stands as an indictment of failed governmental policies, faulty theories and models, and corporate greed and irresponsibility. From the acceleration of Appalachia’s postwar economy to the contemporary grassroots efforts to halt mountain-top removal mining practices, Uneven Ground covers a staggering amount of historical terrain and fills a long-overdue gap in the region’s historiography.

Uneven Ground’s six chapters are chronologically organized around the region’s most significant socioeconomic developments and challenges as well as the policies, policymakers, and organizations engaged in attempting to bring “progress” to mountain communities. Chapter 1 recounts the transformative decade following World War II in Appalachia. Eller argues that the expansion of Appalachia’s postwar economy was “flawed” and ultimately led to “growth without [infrastructural] development” (p. 11). As the coal industry boomed amid soaring markets and technological innovation, Appalachia experienced debilitating out-migration, increased absentee land ownership, environmental devastation, agricultural collapse, rising unemployment, and limited non-resource extraction economic development. Confronted with an increasingly desperate regional constituency, Appalachia’s political leadership proved ineffective in transcending the region’s corrupt “feudal political system” and providing resolutions to the systemic problems within the mountains (p. 35). The failure of native political leaders to offer solutions to rising regional poverty and economic inequality led to the widespread belief that federal intervention within the mountains was necessary to improve life in Appalachia.

To continue reading: Click Here.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Membership Records Management for Genealogical and Historical Societies

Announcing a web site dedicated to a project for developing a records management system for genealogical and historical societies.

PURPOSE overcome the problems of genealogical and historical societies that do not own their own computer, do not have an office or paid staff to maintain records, whose officers are geographically separated with no access to a centrally maintained paper record filing system, where officer turnover often results in inconsistent methods of member record keeping, and where officers have varying degrees of aptitude with computer usage.

The solution is to use resources that may already be available to a society if they have a hosted website of their own. With a web database for member records, including contact information, dues status, a surname directory, and members' skills and interests data, the society's key officers can access the membership data on a need-to-see basis and avoid conflicts in record keeping and duplication of effort.

To read more: Click Here.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Coal Creek

War and Disasters

Coal Creek Miners
The miners of Coal Creek, in Anderson County, Tennessee, left their mark on history. They fueled the industrial revolution. They fought the Tennessee Militia to abolish the use of convict miners by private industry during the Coal Creek War of 1891 to 1892. About 300 Coal Creek miners, many of them veterans of the Coal Creek War, perished in mine disasters in 1902 (Fraterville) and 1911 (Cross Mountain). Mine disasters like these raised public awareness of the hazards of mining, resulting in advances in mine safety practices. In the early part of the 20th century, thousands of coal miners died in the United States each year. In 2004, coal mining fatalities in the U.S. numbered 28. Here’s their story.

For the story of the Coal Creek War and the mining disasters of 1902 and 1911: Click Here.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

In the Tunnel

Miners with Open Flame Lamps, September 1908. Gary, West Virginia
When men first began to tunnel into the earth to remove coal, open flame lamps or candles were the only devices to light one's way. If a miner opened a pocket of lethal gas, the lack of oxygen could not only snuff out his open flame light — a warning too late — but the lives of miners also could be snuffed out. This is why miners often carried caged live canaries into the tunnels. Canaries are more sensitive than humans to diminished oxygen and poisonous gases and provided an early warning to miners. Even more obvious, an open flame could trigger an explosion or fire.

To continue reading: Click Here.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Bacon's Rebellion

And the Defeat of the Saponi Tribes
At Occoneechee Island

By Linda Carter

The story of the Great Trading Path, centered at Occoneeche Island in what is now Clarksville, VA, is inextricably intertwined with that of Bacon's Rebellion — the first rebellion American colonists were to wage against British governmental authority. It's fascinating how the paradigm with which one approaches a story colors one's perception of it. During the heyday of American expansionism, from the days of Andrew Jackson and his Removal policy towards Indians east of the Mississippi, on through the institution of hereditary slavery and later Jim Crow, researchers saw Bacon as something of a hero, an early version of George Washington, perhaps. The Virginia governor, William Berkeley, was painted in the light of a corrupt despot.

It wasn't until the 1950's, when thoughtful academics were horrified by the witchhunt tactics of McCarthyism, and inspired by the first stirrings of the Civil Rights Movement, that Bacon's Rebellion began to be seen in an entirely different light. Elements of evidence were uncovered in England, namely Governor Berkeley's own account of Bacon's rebellion, which cast Bacon as a genocidal supremacist, while Berkeley saw himself as the "liberal" civil servant, trying to maintain an honorable and just treatment of neighboring nations.

To continue reading: Click Here.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Virginia Native History

AT THE dawn of the seventeenth century, three distinct groups of Indian tribes, representing three different linguistic stocks, occupied the territory that is now Virginia. Along the coast and up the tidal rivers to their falls were the many palisaded settlements of the Algonquian group, the Powhatan confederacy, enemy of the Siouan stock composed of the Monacan and Manahoac federations that spread from the banks of the upper James and the headwaters of the Potomac and Rappahannock Rivers to the Allegheny Mountains. The bellicose and scattered Iroquoian stock was represented by the Conestoga (Susquehanna) tribe of nearly 6oo warriors living in fortified towns near the headwaters of the Chesapeake Bay; the Rickohockan or Rechahecrian (who are identified with the Cherokee by most ethnologists, as the Yuchi by John Reed Swanton), occupying the mountain valleys of the southwest; and the Nottoway in the southeast.

During their first years in Virginia the colonists of the London Company found along the rivers and coast some 200 villages under the leadership of Wahunsonacock, known to the colonists as Powhatan. This chief of an Algonquian confederation, which consisted of about 2,400 warriors, had inherited the territories of the -Powhatan, Arrowhatock, Appamatuck, Pamunkee, Youghtanund, and Mattapament, to which, by later conquest, he had added other tribes, bringing the number under his dominion up to 30 of the 36 'King's howses' or tribal capitals, Werowocomoco, on the left bank of the York River, was Powhatan's favorite, and the one in which, as a prisoner in 16o8, Captain John Smith first saw the powerful chieftain.

To continue reading: Click Here.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Core List of Tennessee Books Suggested for Public Libraries

By the Tennessee State Library and Archives


Ball, Randy. Abandoned: forgotten places of East Tennessee. Rogersville, Appalachian Images, Pub., 1995. A photograph album of northeast Tennessee, black & white pictures taken by Randy Ball.

Beverley, Robert. East Tennessee almanac. Franklin, NC, Sanctuary Press, 1992. Illustrated encyclopedia treating geography, climate, culture, history and politics, economics of eastern Tennessee.

Brewer, Alberta and Carson Brewer. Valley so wild: a folk history. Knoxville, ETHS, 1975. A history of the Tellico River Valley and dam.

Buchanan, Jane Gray. Early inns and taverns of East Tennessee: a photoessay. Knoxville, East Tennessee Historical Society, 1996. Black & white photographs of eastern Tennessee inns, images & text by Jane Gray Buchanan.

Seymour, Digby G. Divided loyalties: Fort Sanders & the Civil War in east Tennessee. Knoxville, ETHS, 1982. Narrative treatment of east Tennessee in the Civil War.

Stokely, Jim. Encyclopedia of east Tennessee. Oak Ridge, Childrens Museum, 1981. Short, illustrated articles on the people, places and events in eastern Tennessee.

Temple, Oliver P. East Tennessee and the Civil War. Cincinnati, The R. Clarke Co., 1899 (reprinted 1972 by Burman Books). Detailed historical account of the Civil War era in eastern Tennessee.

For other regions and statewide sources: Click Here.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

East Tennessee Doctor

Inspires Medical Students to Help Under Served Communities

The beautiful Appalachian mountains of Hancock County are home to some 6,600 people. Most of them wouldn't dream of living any place else, at least that's the story Dr. John Short tells. After his residency 14 years ago, he returned to his home town of Sneedville.

"You have to enjoy it, you have to want to be in a small town to practice in a small town."

It's a place where everybody knows everybody and Dr. Short is just about everybody's doctor.

"He's a good friend too, very good friend," Patty Gibson says.

Patty's daughter graduated high school with the town doc. She's one of Dr. Short's many homebound patients. Two days a month he makes house calls for patients who can't get out to see a doctor.

To continue reading this story from WBIR in Knoxville and/or watch the original news story reported from Sneedville: Click Here.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Appalachian Journal

A Regional Studies Review
Appalachian State University

Appalachian Journal, founded in 1972, is an interdisciplinary, peer-reviewed quarterly featuring field research, interviews, and other scholarly studies of history, politics, economics, culture, folklore, literature, music, ecology, and a variety of other topics, as well as poetry and reviews of books, films, and recordings dealing with the region of the Appalachian mountains.

Back issues may be ordered; their tables of content are available online.

The visit the Appalachian Journal's web site: Click Here.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Fire Up the Christmas Pudding!

Not every place has the distinction of being named after a Christmas treat. Tradition holds that Pudding Ridge, NC, in western Davie County, got its name one rainy day in February 1781 during a Revolutionary War engagement. British General Cornwallis was driving his troops through the soggy hillsides in hard pursuit of American General Nathanael Greene, before finally battling his rival near the current day site of Guilford College in Greensboro. The crossing at Dutchman Creek, until the early 1900s the main crossing toward Yadkin County, was so boggy and thick with mud that it reminded the British of pudding (by which they meant “Christmas pudding.”)

The name stuck with the colonists, who would have been as familiar with Christmas pudding as their rivals and understood the reference immediately. Fortunately most Appalachian traditions associated with this classic seasonal treat have a much more positive connotation than that of being chased by enemies through the mud.

For more, including a 19th century recipe for Christmas pudding: Click Here.

Note: Another winner from Dave Tabler and his Appalachian History blog!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

The Whimmydiddle and the Flipperdinger

Computer games haven’t always dominated the world of childrens’ toys. Two classic wooden folk toys, the whimmydidle and the flipperdinger, have been enjoyed by children for hundreds of years throughout Appalachia. These toys were handmade by people for their own use. Many of the designs for such folk toys were passed down from one generation to the next.

To read the rest of this article, including diagrams, on Dave Tabler's highly recommended Appalachian History blog: Click Here.

Friday, December 3, 2010

National Genealogical Society's 2011 Family History Conference

The National Genealogical Society is pleased to announce that registration has opened for next year's Family History Conference, which will be held at the Charleston Area Convention Center, 5001 Coliseum Drive, North Charleston, SC 29418, 11-14 May 2011. The Society selected Charleston because of its significance in American history. In addition to attending the NGS 2011 Family History Conference, participants will have an opportunity to tour Charleston's historic buildings, churches and homes as well as its many museums and research facilities. The National Genealogical Society anticipates 2,000 genealogists from around the country will attend next year's event.

April 2011 will mark the 150th Anniversary of the beginning of the Civil War at nearby Ft. Sumter, so the four day family history conference will feature talks on both Revolutionary War and Civil War records. More than seventy-five nationally recognized speakers will provide over one hundred and eighty lectures on a wide variety of topics including research in South Carolina and the surrounding states, migration patterns, religious records, research methodology, and problem solving. The conference program will also include lectures about researching various ethnic groups including Germans, Cherokee, African Americans, Huguenots, Irish, Scots, and Scots-Irish.

Special Saturday workshops include an all day beginner's workshop, "Genealogy 101: Getting Started with Family History" and a "Kids' Kamp" for children and young adults ages eight through sixteen.

An exhibit area with more than one hundred exhibitors will be open and free to the public Wednesday through Saturday including the latest in genealogical software, online research providers and DNA testing services.

For more information and registration: Click Here.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Native American Resource Center

The University of North Carolina at Pembroke

The mission of the Native American Resource Center is to educate the public about the prehistory, history, culture, art and contemporary issues of American Indians, with special emphasis on the Robeson County Native American community; to conduct scholarly research; to collect and preserve the material culture of Native America; to encourage Native American artists and craftspersons; and to cooperate on a wide range of projects with other agencies concerned with Native America.

Our museum contains exhibits of authentic Indian artifacts, arts and crafts. These items come from Indian people all over North America, from Abenaki to Zuni. Many other items come from North Carolina Native Americans, with special emphasis on Robeson County Indian people. Particular focus is placed on the largest North Carolina tribe, the Lumbee.

To visit: Click Here.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Sundown Towns

A sundown town is a town that is or was purposely all-White. The term is widely used in the United States and Canada in areas from Ohio to Oregon and well into the South. Even in Canada many towns in Southern Ontario, Alberta, and Quebec were sundown towns prior to 1982, when it was outlawed. The term came from signs that were allegedly posted stating that people of color had to leave the town by sundown. They are also sometimes known as “sunset towns” or “gray towns”. The term is less common in suburbia and on the East Coast, even though the concept was still prevalent in those places. Residents were often systematically excluded from living in or sometimes even passing through these communities after the sun went down. This allowed maids and workmen to provide unskilled labor during the day. They came into existence in the late 19th century during what sociologists have described as the nadir of American race relations. Sundown towns existed throughout the United States, but more often were located in the northern states that were not pre-Civil War slave states. There have not been any de jure sundown towns in the country since the legislation in the 1960s inspired by the American Civil Rights Movement, though de facto sundown towns and counties, where few if any black families live, are still exist.

The definite work on sundown towns is James Loewen's Sundown Towns: A Hidden Dimension of American Racism. New York: The New Press, 2005.

For an excellent article on sundown town written for The Encyclopedia of Arkansas History and Culture: Click Here.

For an interview with James Loewen: Click Here.

For James Loewen's Sundown Towns web page: Click Here.