Saturday, March 12, 2011

Podcast Appalachia 13: James Still: The Dean of Appalachian Literature


Hello and welcome to Podcast Appalachia. I’m John Norris Brown.

Before I begin, I should apologize for the lack of new episodes over the past year. A lot has happened during this time. I won’t bore you with all the details, but basically I have a new job that keeps me very busy. Although my passion for Appalachia has not diminished, my free time certainly has, but I will hopefully be able to get back on a more regular schedule now. I ask that you bear with me for the time being.

Also, I am very grateful to everyone who has e-mailed me. Even if I don’t respond right away, please know that I am very glad to receive your letters. I’ve also had some great topics suggested for future episodes. I plan to use them in the future, hopefully soon!

With that out of the way, let’s get down to business.

James Still was an Appalachian writer, folklorist, and poet who has been called the “Dean of Appalachian Literature.” Though not a native Appalachian, Still’s writings would come to represent the region, particularly the coal mining culture of eastern Kentucky, as beautifully and accurately as any writer ever has. His most famous novel, River of Earth, dealt with the day to day life of a struggling family in the coal camps of Depression-era Kentucky.

James Still was born July 16, 1906 in Chambers County, AL. The son of a self-educated horse trader and farmer, he was the sixth of ten children. He described himself as being of “Scotch-Irish stock,” with forbearers who had lived in the Cumberland Gap, giving him family ties to the Appalachian region.

Still developed a love of books early in life, reading his parents Cyclopedia of Universal Knowledge, which he would later describe as his “introduction to a wider world.” From this book he would develop interests in physics, philosophy, and British poets, including Shakespeare and Keats.

Still’s reading, as well stories from relatives, instilled in him an interest in the American Civil War. Later on, he would visit many battlefields, including Appomattox, the site of Lee’s surrender to Grant, which he said brought tears to his eyes.

As a young man, James Still witnessed a hanging and a cross burning by the Ku Klux Klan. These events caused Still to become a staunch opponent of both racism and the death penalty.

Still left Alabama in 1924 to attend college at Lincoln Memorial University, or LMU, in Harrogate, TN, near the Cumberland Gap, with $60 in his pocket. Lacking financial resources, he was drawn by the ability to work his way through. While at LMU he had classes with fellow Appalachian writers Jesse Stuart and Don West, although only West would influence him. He also studied under the novelist Harry Harrison Kroll.

LMU had its share of hardships for young James. He would later recount his own poverty and that of his fellow students. Most of the students there worked their way through college, doing jobs on campus. Most had little money even to buy food. Still later recounted that his most overriding memory of LMU was hunger.

During his junior and senior years at LMU, Still worked as a janitor in the library. He began work at 9 PM when the library closed, and was often too tired to return to his dormitory, sleeping instead in the stack room.

While a student at LMU Still became romantically involved with a female student named Mayme Brown, a native of nearby Speedwell, TN. Tragically, Mayme would die of Typhoid Fever in 1927. Still would continue to place flowers on her grave until at least the late 1990s.

(I should mention that Mayme Brown was my great-aunt.)

Still earned an A.B. degree from LMU in 1929, and enrolled at Vanderbilt University where he earned an M.A. degree in literature in 1930. He would enroll in yet another university, the University of Illinois, where he would earn a B.S. degree in library science.

While at Vanderbilt, Still became involved in activism. In 1929, he volunteered to deliver food and clothing to the miners of Wilder, TN, who were involved in a strike. Witnessing the suffering of these miners, many of whom were near starvation, made a strong mark in Still’s life, and would later be reflected in many of his writings.

In 1931 Still visited his former classmate Don West in Knott County, KY. Greatly impressed by the region’s natural beauty and the people, he decided to take a job as a librarian at Hindman Settlement School, located in the county. Much of the time he worked here was as a volunteer, as the school was suffering financial hardships during the time. As a librarian, Still would frequently walk books to rural schools in the area.

It was during this time that Still began to write voraciously. His writings were mostly poems and short stories examining the way of life of the Appalachian region, some of which were published in national periodicals. In 1937 Hounds on the Mountain, a collection of his poetry, was published.

About 1939 Still decided to devote further time to writing, and moved into a remote log cabin on Dead Mare Branch of Little Carr Creek. Except during his military service and his various travels, Still would live in this house for the rest of his life.

Still also served as a social worker for the Federal Emergency Relief Administration, a New Deal Program, during which time he became intimately acquainted with the trials of life as a coal miner during the Great Depression.

This experience led James Still to write what is now widely considered his masterpiece, River of Earth, published in 1940. This novel, along with Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, is considered one of the best illustrations of life during the Depression. The book received widespread critical praise, including Time Magazine who described it as a “work of art.” Still was also awarded the Southern Author’s Award for this work, an award he shared with Thomas Wolfe for his work You Can’t Go Home Again. Although beloved, River was overshadowed by Steinbeck’s masterpiece.

Still’s writing was interrupted by World War II. In 1942 he was drafted into the U.S. Army Air Corp. He was 36 years old by this time, which would have been a factor in most places. However, Still would later recall that the draft board was “getting rid of the jailbirds, the riffraff, and those without families to protest.” Still was in the latter category. While serving in the Air Corp, Still would be stationed in the Middle East and Africa throughout the war. His service time was very difficult; Still survived a ground combat, a place crash, dysentery, and malaria.

After the war, Still returned to his home in Knott County. He was so traumatized by his war experience that for several years he was unable to write very much. In 1952 he returned to the Hindman Settlement School, where he would remain librarian until 1962. In 1970 he accepted a position at Morehead State University as a professor of English. He retired from academia in the 1970s.

River of Earth was republished in 1978, securing it a lasting place in Appalachian literature. Since that time, many of his other works have also been republished, including, most recently, From the Mountain From the Valley: New and Collected Poems in 2001.

During the later decades of his life, Still developed an interest in the Native American cultures of Central America, and spent many winters traveling in Mexico and Central America, visiting the ruins of Mayan sites which he was particularly fascinated by. Still also traveled throughout Europe, visiting numerous World War II sites.

Not surprisingly, Still also frequently spoke and read at schools in Kentucky. Because he lived in such a remote location, he was viewed by some of his neighbors as a hermit. This reputation fascinated Still.

Over the years he was asked many times who had influenced his writing. Still would usually respond that he had few strong influenced, but that the writings of Chaucer, Shakespeare, Keats, Byron and others did help influence him.

Still died in 2001 at the age of 94. His passing was reported widely in the media, including on National Public Radio, where he was described as the “best writer you’ve never heard of.” In reporting his death one of his most famous poems was also read or printed. Entitled “Those I Want in Heaven With Me (Should There Be Such a Place),” the work described those who he had known throughout his life. I will read it now:

First I want my dog Jack,
Granted that Mama and Papa are there,
And my nine brothers and sisters,
And “Aunt” Fanny who diapered me, comforted me, shielded me,
Aunt Enore who was too good for this world,
And the grandpa who used to bite my ears,
And the other one who couldn’t remember my name—
There were so many of us;
And Uncle Edd—“Eddie Boozer” they called him—
Who had devils dancing in his eyes,
And Uncle Luther who laughed so loud in the churchyard
He had to apologize to the congregation,
And Uncle Joe who saved the first dollar he ever earned,
And the last one, and all those in between;
And Aunt Carrie who kept me informed:
“Too bad you’re not good looking like your daddy”;
And my first sweetheart, who died at sixteen,
Before she got around to saying “Yes”;

I want my dog Jack nipping at my heels,
Who was my boon companion,
Suddenly gone when I was six;
And I want Rusty, my ginger pony,
Who took me on my first journey—
Not far, yet far enough for the time.

I want the play fellows of my youth
Who gathered bumblebees in bottles,
Erected flutter mills by streams,
Flew kites nearly to heaven,
And who before me saw God.

Be with me there.

The sources for this podcast were The Encyclopedia of Appalachia, edited by Rudy Abramson and Jean Haskell

That’s it for today. As always, thanks to the 1937 Flood for allowing me to use their music, and thank you for listening. As always, a transcript of this and previous episodes of this podcast is available at If you want to get in touch with me, please do so. My e-mail address is Also, please feel free to suggest topics for future episodes. I hope you have a nice day, and we will speak again soon.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Podcast Appalachia 12: "Appalachian Christmas"


[Sorry, no transcript is available for this episode]

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Podcast Appalachian 11: Moonshine



Hello and welcome to Podcast Appalachia. I’m John Norris Brown.

It’s good to be back with you again. I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving.. I’m still recovering from my feast of turkey and dressing from last week, but otherwise I’m doing well.

With that said, let’s get on to Appalachia. Today, I want to discuss the spirit of the mountains, a spirit that has accompanied us through good times and bad. One that is good in moderation, but dangerous in excess. An actual spirit; I, of course, am referring to moonshine.

Whether you want to call it “moonshine,” “white lightning,” “popskull,” “mountain dew,” “wet goods,” or any other euphemism, there’s no doubt it illegally distilled whiskey has become closely associated with the hills of Appalachia. Hillbilly cartoons almost invariably feature a jug of ‘shine, usually with “XXX” scrawled across the side.

Moonshine features prominently in Hollywood portrayals of Appalachians as well, from The Beverly Hillbillies to The Dukes of Hazzard.

My own alma mater, Appalachian State University, has a longstanding rivalry with Western Carolina University in which the winner gets to take home the “Old Mountain Jug.”

The term moonshine was used in Britain to describe whiskey runners avoiding taxation for centuries, but the term wasn’t widely used in America until the 1860s as a reference to the substance being produced at night. Today, the term “moonshine” is the widely accepted term for illegally distilled liquor.

In order to make moonshine, one needs only three basic ingredients: water, yeast, and a sugar yielding organic material, like corn or barely. Classic American moonshine used corn, but today most moonshine uses sugar, as it’s cheap and easy to get.

After you have acquired the ingredients, the process can begin. The process consists of only two basic steps: fermentation and distillation.

I won’t go into a detailed description of the process, but if you’re really interested, you can find plenty of recipes and tips online. Not that I condone such activities, of course!

The history of moonshine is long and fascinating, and begins long ago, on the other side of the Atlantic.

Moonshine was born in the British Isles and Northern Ireland as early as the 13th century, when folks began producing their own liquor. Later, the descendants of these early moonshiners would emigrate to the New World, taking with them tools, such as copper pots and condensing coils, along with the knowledge of still making and moonshine production.

Moonshine has been in the New World almost as long as Europeans; the first known corn whiskey distillation began in America around 1620, when George Thorpe, an English colonist, began producing his own spirits.

In the early days of colonization there were a few English and Dutch immigrants who practiced the art, but even so, moonshining was not a particularly common practice. That would soon change with the arrival of Scots-Irish.

The Scots-Irish, who are most closely associated with moonshine, began to arrive in droves around 1717, many of them settling on the Appalachian frontier. Appalachia, with its plentiful limestone soft water streams, proved fertile ground for making liquor. In America, these immigrants used corn or barley in their mash, which could also be easily grown by settlers.

Not surprisingly, corn whiskey became very valuable in the New World, both as a social beverage and for use in medicines. In some areas, it became as valuable as dollars and was frequently used in bartering on the frontier. As a result, it became very economically attractive to farmers, especially the poor, since it is easy to produce and easy to transport.

Even among the elite, corn whiskey proved popular. George Washington, at his Mount Vernon home, operated a still and hired a Scottish distiller.

During the American Revolution, patriotic Mountaineers took up arms and helped cast down the yoke of British oppression. As any student of history knows, one of the major rationales for independence was over the issue of taxes. Imagine the outrage in the hills, then, when their new government, the one they had helped defend against the British, imposed a vastly unpopular tax on distilled spirits to pay down war debts.

In 1791, Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton imposed a whiskey tax. The response was outrage, particularly among the Scots-Irish residents of Appalachia, where opposition was particularly strong.

Protests soon grew, culminating in the so-called Whiskey Rebellion. In 1794, thousands of residents of Pennsylvanian Appalachia took up arms against their new government, rebelling over the issue of taxation. The rebellion was put down by an army dispatched by George Washington, but the tax would remain in effect until 1802, when Thomas Jefferson repealed it.

Many of the rebels, wishing to simply be left alone, left Pennsylvania for the more remote, mountainous areas of Kentucky, Virginia, and the Carolinas where they could ply their trade in peace. The Whiskey Rebellion set the tone for the adversarial relationship between moonshiners and authorities, relationship that survives to the present day.

Following the repeal of the whiskey tax, corn liquor was once again untaxed for over six decades, save for a few years in the 1810s. However, during the Civil War, the Union government once again imposed a tax on distilled spirits to help pay war debts. In addition to the tax, the Office of Internal Revenue was also established to enforce the tax on spirits. Revenue agents became known as “revenuers.”

Due to the Civil War and aftermath, the law was not widely enforced in the South until the 1870s. As was the case sixty years earlier, this new law was widely resented by farmers, who went underground and made whiskey illegally by the light of the moon, adding the term “moonshine” to the American lexicon.

The tax was increased in the 1890s, in part due to the Depression of the time. This new tax may have been counterproductive, however, as it drove up the price of moonshine. The Depression had also hit Appalachia hard, almost forcing many poor farmers into moonshining simply to make ends meet.

Although illegal, moonshiners were not always persecuted by local law enforcement. Local sheriffs and officers sometimes sided with moonshiners against federal revenuers, sometimes out of loyalty to friends or family, and sometimes as a result of bribery.

During the late 19th century, skirmishes between moonshiners and revenuers became legendary. These battles were romanticized in books and in the pages of Harper’s Weekly and Atlantic Monthly. As a result, some revenuers became local celebrities, like Kentucky’s William “Big Six” Henderson.

By the early 20th century, many moonshiners were banding together for protection against law enforcement. Sometimes they would attack informants and intimidate law enforcement, protecting their trade by force if necessary.

Moonshining saw great expansion during Prohibition, which began in 1920. The Prohibition and Depression eras marked the peak of moonshining in America.

Although many Southern states had already outlawed alcohol, the nationwide ban created a great demand for spirits in far away places. Bootlegging became widespread. Moonshine made in the remote hills of Appalachia was transported to regional hubs like Knoxville, Chattanooga, and Asheville, as well as huge, far away metropolises, like Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland, and New York City.

Because alcohol was greatly in demand, suppliers and consumers took less note of the quality of the product. Additionally, moonshiners could avoid government regulations by using lower grade ingredients. This sometimes produced a substandard, and occasionally toxic, product.

During this period, three Appalachian counties took turns as the “Moonshine Capital of America”. These counties were Wilkes County, NC, Dawson County, GA, and Cocke County, TN.

Even though Prohibition was repealed in 1933, many areas remained dry and moonshine continued to flourish. The economic hardships of the Depression made it very tempting as a means of income for poor farmers.

The Prohibition and Depression-eras spawned drivers who gained racing skills transporting moonshine on narrow, curvy mountain roads at high rates of speed. Cars were frequently used to transport moonshine, as drivers would navigate back roads in cars outfitted to run very fast while carrying heavy loads.

Some of these moonshine runners became legendary. In Dawson County, GA, runners would meet on Sundays to race on a dirt track. It was here that NASCAR was born. Many early NASCAR drivers, including Glenn Dunaway and Junior Johnson, were also moonshine runners.

By the 1950s, moonshine declined due to changing economy and as more counties liberalized their liquor laws, making it easier and less expensive to receive alcohol legally. Still, an ever-increasing alcohol tax helped keep moonshining alive.

And moonshining continues to this day in small pockets of Appalachia. Earlier this year, Marvin “Popcorn” Sutton, a legendary moonshiner from Cocke County, TN, died following a long legal battle with authorities.

As for the future of moonshine, I think it’s a safe bet that people will always want to enjoy it. As a result, there will likely always been moonshiners, though the culture and processes may change.

Interestingly, the future for moonshine might be as a source of alternative energy. With the government increasingly pushing for green energy, some entrepreneurs are considering marketing moonshine not as a drink, but rather as a fuel. A new company in Tullahoma, TN, for example, is selling ethanol—190 proof grain alcohol—made from corn, as a means to power automobiles. Unfortunately for those who wish to drink their fuel, the company has put a poison in the mix to ensure the substance is only used as intended.

The other day, I was watching some old news reports concerning moonshining in the 1950s There was an interview with a sheriff who had been involved in the moonshine skirmishes. He seemed to have a certain admiration for the moonshiners, pointing to one who he had arrested three times for moonshining. He never lied about his activities and never tried to avoid prison time, but once he was released, he went right back to his still and began distilling again. With the money he made, he sent his children to college.

The sources for this episode were The Encyclopedia of Appalachia, edited by Rudy Abramson and Judy Haskell and Moonshine! by Matthew Rowley.

That’s it for today. As always, thanks to the 1937 Flood for allowing me to use their music, and thank you for listening. As always, a transcript of this and previous episodes of this podcast is available at If you want to get in touch with me, please do so. My e-mail address is Also, please feel free to suggest topics for future episodes. I hope you have a nice day, and we will speak again soon.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Podcast Appalachia 10: The "Lost" State of Franklin


Hello and welcome to Podcast Appalachia. I’m John Norris Brown.

First, it’s great to be back with you after a sixteen-month hiatus. As many of you know, I was living overseas and just did not have very much free time. However, I really missed producing this podcast and am very happy to be doing it again. Researching this episode was very relaxing for me, and I can’t wait to do more in the future. I’m grateful that you’re still listening, and hope you’ll accept my apology for my neglect.

With that said, let’s get on with Appalachia. Today we’ll discuss the “lost” State of Franklin.

The “lost” State of Franklin was an unrecognized territory that sought statehood just after the War for Independence. Comprised of what is today Upper East Tennessee and the easternmost counties of Tennessee, but what was then part of North Carolina, the “state” existed for only four years. In spite of its failure, the Lost State of Franklin would capture the imaginations of generations of Americans.

In the mid to late 1700s, settlers in the region that would become the State of Franklin had always felt isolated in their new territory. Fairly or unfairly, they also felt their needs were being ignored by their state government in North Carolina.

Like any good mountaineers, they decided to take matters into their own hands. In 1772 they formed the Watauga Association, the first attempt at self-government in the area. The Watauga Association was something of a forerunner to the State of Franklin and became notable for declaring itself independent of British rule prior to the Declaration of Independence.

Over the next few years, these feelings of isolation and grievances against the North Carolina government would only grow more intense. So once again, the early settlers decided to assert their rights. In Jonesborough in 1784 the independent State of Frankland was declared, and a provisional constitution, which actually was only a slightly modified North Carolina constitution, was adopted.

The new state decided on the name Frankland because it meant “free land.” It wasn’t until later that it adopted the better remembered name of Franklin, after Benjamin Franklin. Why the name was changed remains unclear, though perhaps it was to flatter Franklin and help the new state receive recognition from the federal government.

In asserting their rights, the founders of the State of Frankland used rhetoric from the War for Indpendence. Franklinites argued that they had the right of self-determination and should be able to create their own government, one that would rest on the consent of the governed and be more accountable to the people of the region. Like the American revolutionaries, they and their defenders argue they were simply trying to protect their natural rights.

Over the years, these romantic ideals have been challenged by historians. Kevin Barksdale, for example, contends that the state of Franklin was really an effort by the ruling class of the Tennessee Valley to preserve their power. According to him, Franklinites believed statehood would accomplish three things: Allow for more aggressive policy toward Native Americans, allow regional taxes to be used for improvements, and grant the ruling classes more political influence than existed under the North Carolina government.

Another historical fact that is sometimes forgotten is that the State of Franklin did not enjoy universal support among the early settlers. On the contrary, the state was very polarizing, and forced Tennessee Valley residents, who had been largely united by the War for Independence, to choose sides.

Some chose to support the State of Franklin while others decided to oppose it. The leader of the opposition was a man named John Tipton, who would become a thorn in the side of the Franklinites. Over the next few years he and his supporters, called Tiptonites, would do everything in their power to defeat the Franklinites.

Nevertheless, the prospects for Franklin looked promising at first. At a meeting in Greeneville in November of 1785, a new constitution was proposed. Though details are sketchy, it was most likely authored by Virginians Arthur Campbell, and Reverends William Graham and Samuel Houston, a relative of the latter Sam Houston.

This constitution was notable for being very progressive for its time. It allowed for universal male suffrage with no property requirement, as was required in most states of the time, proportional representation, a unicameral legislature, the election of all government officials, term limits, freedom of the press, fair treatment under the law, and the right to assembly.

The constitution was also ahead of its time in that it gave special attention to education. It called for the establishment of both grammar schools and a state university, something many other states would not do for several more decades.

Since two of its likely authors were ministers, the constitution was also very protestant influenced. It banned atheists and those who disbelieved in the Bible from running for office. In addition, gamblers, drunks, and those of “immoral character” were prohibited from holding office. Thus it mixed Enlightenment principals with the Protestant Reformation.

Called the “Frankland Document,” the proposed constitution was widely circulated, and was published in Pennsylvania. It was read by the Founding Fathers and may have influenced certain parts of the U.S. Constitution.

Had this new constitution been adopted, perhaps the State of Franklin would have survived. However, on that day in Greeneville the new constitution was rejected by a vote of 24-19. The reasons for this rejection remain unclear due to lack of documents, but some have suggested its failure might have been caused by the fact that it was written by Virginians, who were seen as outsiders in the Valley. Or perhaps it was too clerical in nature. Or maybe it was too democratic, and the ruling elite believed it gave too much power to the masses. Of course, it’s unlikely we’ll ever know the true reason.

In any event, the rejection of the proposed constitution further divided the residents of the valley. Instead of being simply a division between those who supported and those who opposed the State of Franklin, now the Franklinites were divided among those who supported the constitution and those who opposed it. This division proved very costly to the future prospects of the state, and led to some Franklinites changing sides and joining the Tiptonites.

In 1785 the State of Franklin elected its first and only governor, a local leader and Revolutionary War veteran named John Sevier. Though Sevier had initially opposed the creation of the state, he was wooed by the Franklinites until he offered his support. Sevier was a very popular figure in the area, and his support was deemed crucial if Franklin were to succeed. His election created two separate governments in the valley, one for Franklin and one for North Carolina, and ultimately led to a small civil war.

Even with Sevier on board, however, divisions remained. John Tipton continued to oppose Franklin, and he continued to gain new supporters.

Early in his administration, John Sevier wrote governor Alexander Martin of North Carolina a cordial letter. In the letter it was obvious Sevier wanted to avoid bloodshed and desired an amicable split from the state. Martin, however, was having none of it. He was not at all receptive to the rebels and disputed every justification for the new state’s existence. Martin’s hardline stance was supported by John Tipton, who stepped up his opposition to Sevier by writing Martin a letter of his own, pledging his allegiance to North Carolina.

Desperate to receive recognition, the Franklinites took their case to Philadelphia. Statehood for Franklin was considered there, with Washington, Madison and Benjamin Franklin himself, among others, mulling the situation. Patrick Henry, the governor of Virginia, was strongly opposed.

Ultimately, the Franklinites came close, but fell just short of the endorsement they needed: A motion to admit Franklin as the fourteenth state failed by a single vote in Philadelphia. This vote, along with the anti-Franklinites led by John Tipton, further damaged the prospects for statehood.

Still, John Sevier and the Franklinites continued their efforts. The new governor of North Carolina, Richard Caswell, was far less confrontational than his predecessor and a friend of Sevier, leading some to believe he could be convinced to grant Franklin its independence.

This belief proved to be wishful thinking. Caswell was more moderate than his predecessor, and like Sevier, he was committed to avoiding bloodshed. But he was also a savvy politician and implemented a new “divide and conquer” strategy for dealing with the Franklinites. He offered pardons to all former Franklinites. He also continued to insist on elections being held in Franklin for North Carolina offices. This undermined the new state’s authority and created dual governments: each Franklin county now had a Franklin sheriff and a North Carolina sheriff, two sets of legislators running at the same time, and two courts.

Though Franklinites continued to lobby North Carolina for recognition, these efforts were roundly rejected. Regardless of his personal affection for Sevier, Caswell was not going to grant the rebels their independence.

After failing to secure recognition from North Carolina and the federal government, the situation looked futile. Even in the valley, support for the state of Franklin waned. Many Franklinites realigned with North Carolina; only a few diehard supporters remained.

All hope of federal recognition ended with the adoption of the U.S. Constitution. Article IV, section 3 states that no new state can be formed from an old state without the consent of the old state and Congress. This was added as a result of the situation of the State of Franklin, considered by many signers to be an anti-model. Since getting consent from North Carolina was virtually impossible, most Franklinites packed it in.

There was, however, one more strategy being pursued, and this remains probably the most controversial parts of Franklin history. Some Franklinites, seeing federal recognition implausible, sought a union with the Empire of Spain. It’s not clear how serious the so-called “Spanish Conspiracy” was, but it was pursued late in the short life of the State of Franklin.

A union between Franklin and Spain was pursued by Dr. James White, a former North Carolina congressman and associate of John Sevier. Through him and Sevier’s son James, talks were entered into with the Spanish ambassador in New York City concerning the possibility of Franklin joining Spain. Ultimately, these talks did not progress very far and fell completely apart by 1788, though White continued to pursue them even as Franklinite leaders defected back to North Carolina.

Historians continue to debate the motives of the “Spanish Conspiracy,” with some contending it was merely a ploy to gain leverage and possibly recognition from the U.S. government. Others believe it was a last ditch effort to maintain control by the ruling elite in the Tennessee valley. Regardless, these talks were not successful and could not save the State of Franklin.

The final battle of the short life of Franklin occurred in late February, 1788. Called “The Battle of the State of Franklin,” it was fought during a snowstorm on John Tipton’s property.

At that time, Tipton was serving as Colonel and clerk of Washington County. Motivated by a desire for revenge, he ordered the sheriff to seize Sevier’s property for unpaid taxes to North Carolina. A number of Sevier’s belongings were taken, among them slaves.

When Sevier heard of this, he was enraged and immediately sent the Franklin militia to the Tipton farm to reclaim his property. A siege ensued. Though outnumbered, the Tiptonites refused to surrender, and ultimately were reinforced by more Tiptonites from outside the farm, forcing the Franklinites to retreat.

This was a humiliating defeat for the Franklinites and John Sevier. Two men were killed, but the greatest casualty may have been the State of Franklin itself.

John Sevier’s term as governor ended on March 1, 1788, and he did not seek reelection. No other candidate could be found to run for governor as support for the state had largely vanished. With little public support and no one willing to run for governor, the State of Franklin came to an abrupt end.

The drama did not end there, however. Viewed as a traitor by many North Carolinians, it was unknown as to what would become of John Sevier. Fearing prosecution, he went into hiding. His archrival John Tipton, and the new governor of North Carolina, Samuel Johnston, took no pity on him and pursued him for treason.

Sevier was arrested in October 1788, but did not remain in captivity for long. The sheriff charged with supervising him was actually an old friend from the War for Independence, and quickly released Sevier. He was later pardoned by the state of North Carolina.

A year later, in 1789, North Carolina ceded its western lands to the federal government, which created the Territory South of the River Ohio in 1790. It was from this land that Tennessee peacefully gained statehood in 1796. John Sevier was elected the first governor of Tennessee.

In spite of its failure, the State of Franklin would live on in legend. There were even efforts to recreate the stillborn state during the nineteenth century. In 1842, counties in East Tennessee attempted to break away from Tennessee and reform Franklin, but these efforts failed.

In 1861, Union loyalists in East Tennessee once again attempted to secede from Tennessee so as to remain with the Union, but the state of Tennessee refused to grant permission, and once again the efforts were unsuccessful.

Today the State of Franklin lives on only in our imaginations, providing one of the more intriguing “What Ifs?” of American history.

The sources for this episode were The Encyclopedia of Appalachia, edited by Rudy Abramson and Judy Haskell and The Lost State of Franklin: America’s First Secession by Kevin T. Barksdale.

That’s it for today. As always, thanks to the 1937 Flood for allowing me to use their music, and thank you for listening. As always, a transcript of this and previous episodes of this podcast is available at If you want to get in touch with me, please do so. My e-mail address is Also, please feel free to suggest topics for future episodes. I hope you have a nice day, and we will speak again soon.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Podcast Appalachia: Update


Hello and welcome to Podcast Appalachia. I’m John Norris Brown.

I just wanted to record a brief note and let you know about my future plans for this podcast.

As some of you know, I spent the past year living in Korea, and during that time I was very busy and unfortunately did not have as much time as I would have liked to devote to this podcast. My apologies for that. However, I want to let you know that I plan to resume Podcast Appalachia very soon. I’m currently researching some topics for future episodes, which I hope you will enjoy.

I hope that you understand my absence and I really appreciate you for continuing to subscribe. Over the past year I’ve received several e-mails from listeners, and I am greatly honored that people remain interested in Podcast Appalachia.

Once again, I sincerely apologize for vanishing, and look forward to joining you again in the study of Appalachia.

Until next time, this is John Norris Brown signing off. I hope you have a great day, and we will talk again soon.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Podcast Appalachia: "Appalachian Abolitionism"


Hello and welcome to Podcast Appalachia. I’m John Norris Brown.

First of all, I should apologize for my neglect of this podcast over the past month. As some of you know, I just started a new job that required me to move to South Korea. So the move, work, and adjusting to life in a new country have taken most of my free time. However, I have not forgotten Podcast Appalachia and plan to continue to produce new episodes, hopefully more regularly than I have this month. So please bear with me, and hopefully I can get back to a more regular schedule in the near future.

With that being said, let’s get onto Appalachia.

A little known chapter of Appalachian history that should be a source of pride for all of us is the role Appalachians played in the Abolitionist movement. Abolitionism, of course, was the nineteenth century movement to abolish slavery in the United States. While names like William Lloyd Garrison, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and the radical John Brown (no relation) are closely associated with abolitionism today, countless different people played a role in ending slavery, and many of them were Appalachians.

Early abolitionists often found inspiration in their faith. John Brown and Henry Ward Beecher, for example, were both ministers. Quakers had also long been morally opposed to human slavery, so it’s not surprising that the Appalachian region of Pennsylvania, with its large Quaker population, became a region sympathetic to abolitionists. But further south Quakers and people of other faiths were also decrying the inhumanity of human bondage.

In the early 1800s a Presbyterian minister near Jonesborough, TN named Samuel Doak began to challenge popular acceptance of slavery. Although slaves were more scarce in the mountain South than in the rest of the South, the mountain elites were dependent on the institution and thus largely defended it. Although Doak was moderate by later standards, he did profess to personally oppose human bondage and encouraged theological debate on the issue. This encouragement of debate would lead to many of his followers embracing the anti-slavery cause and would help influence his fellow Presbyterians in the Cumberland church to oppose slavery. Eventually Doak would become convinced as well.

Born in 1749 in Augusta County, VA, Doak graduated from Princeton in 1775. A staunch supporter of education, he helped establish Tusculum College. Doak himself had been a slave owner, but had become convinced of the evils of slavery in 1818. In response, he freed his own slaves and advocated immediate emancipation for the rest of his life.

One of Doak’s students who would become fiercely anti-slavery was Elihu Embree. Embree had grown up a Quaker but had left the faith as an adult and toward the popular elite belief in deism, which held that God had set the universe into motion but did not play a role in day-to-day events. By 1812, however, Embree came to reject deism and returned to Quakerism, and with it, a strong opposition to slavery.

Elihu Embree had likely been instilled with an abhorrence of slavery from an early age. His father, Thomas Embree, had written a letter to a Knoxville newspaper in 1797 calling for a gradual abolition of slavery. It’s no surprise then that Embree would become the star of anti-slavery activism in the mountain South.

An acquaintance of Embree who would also become an outspoken abolitionist was North Carolinian Charles Osborn. Also a Quaker, Osborn become an itinerate minister in 1809 traveling throughout the mountains establishing meetinghouses in both the North and the South. Anywhere he preached, he spoke out against an injustice he saw all around him: the bondage of African-Americans and the need to emancipate them.

Many people today would be surprised to learn that the first anti-slavery society formed in the United States was formed in East Tennessee, but it is true. Osborn established anti-slavery societies in most of the places he visited, and the first was in Jefferson County, TN. In 1815 Osborn and a small group of Quakers founded the Tennessee Society for Promoting the Manumission of Slaves. Over the next year sixteen chapters were created in East Tennessee, boasting hundreds of members. These chapters were united under the renamed Manumission Society of Tennessee. Elihu Embree was also an early leader of this group. This society was the first in America dedicated to the abolition of slavery, truly a visionary group.

There was disagreement among members of the Society as to what form emancipation should take; some favored gradual emancipation, others immediate emancipation. But there was universal agreement that emancipation should come. All members of the society were required to post the following message in their homes: “Freedom is the natural right of all men; I therefore acknowledge myself a member of the Tennessee Society for promoting the manumission of slaves.”

Critics of Elihu Embree and his efforts pointed out some hypocrisy on his part: while he vocally abhorred slavery, he was himself a slave owner. Embree had inherited some slaves. Although he would eventually free them, he felt a great sense of personal guilt for having taken part in such a horrendous institution. The hypocrisy of both owning slaves and opposing was shared by many Americans, including George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.

There were also more radical abolitionists in Appalachia. John Rankin, another Presbyterian minister, for example, and his father-in-law Adam Lowry both favored immediate emancipation of slaves. Rankin was born in Jefferson County, TN in 1793. A fiery minister, he preached an anti-slavery sermon in Jefferson County that earned him censure from elders of his church, he told him he should consider leaving Tennessee if he wanted to oppose slavery from the pulpit. He took their advice and relocated to Ohio.

In Ohio Rankin and his wife would become involved in the Underground Railroad, a secret network that helped escaped slaves reach the North, and, after the passage of the Fugitive Slave Act, to Canada. He also wrote many letters condemning slavery that would later be published by the leading abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison in his anti-slavery newspaper The Liberator. These letters would be very influential to Garrison, Henry Ward Beecher, and Harriet Beecher Stowe. Garrison would even call Rankin his “anti-slavery father” and state “his book on slavery was the cause of my entering the anti-slavery conflict."

Many people today assume that Garrison’s The Liberator was the first anti-slavery periodical, but that is not so. In reality, that honor falls on Appalachians from the mountain South.

The first anti-slavery was published in 1817 by Charles Osborn, who by then had left the south and moved to Mount Pleasant, Ohio. His newspaper, entitled The Philanthropist, called for an immediate end to slavery and, he hoped, would educate northerners about the evils of the institution.

Further south, Osborn’s old friend Elihu Embree was outraged and felt there was not sufficient discussion of the moral issues surrounding slavery, such as the treatment of the slaves themselves. He even went so far as to criticize the North for its silence and indifference on the issue.

In 1819 the Manumission Society of Tennessee, under the leadership of Embree, began publishing in Manumission Intelligencer. This newspaper was published weekly and a subscription could be purchased for $3 anywhere in the U.S. The newspaper focused on abolitionist activities in Tennessee, but also featured other news as well. The newspaper was almost completely financed by Embree at a very difficult time for him financially, demonstrating his commitment to the cause of freedom. Unfortunately, very few copies of this newspaper survive today.

A year later, in 1820, the newspaper switched formats to a monthly newspaper and changed its name to The Emancipator, although Embree remained editor. The newspaper would gain about 2,500 subscribers, as big as any newspaper in Tennessee or Kentucky at the time. Predictably it was also very controversial as it condemned slave owners in the strongest possible terms. Sadly, the paper would last only eight months. In December 1820 Embree died at the age of 38. Had he survived longer, perhaps it would be his name and newspaper instead of that of William Lloyd Garrison that would fill our history books. Nevertheless, Embree and his efforts deserve to be remembered for advocating a heroic point of view in a place and time that was incredibly hostile to that point of view.

Embree’s newspaper was not the only one of its kind in a slave state. In eastern Kentucky, an Appalachian named John Finley Crow launched his own anti-slavery newspaper in 1822. Entitled Abolition Intelligencer and Missionary Magazine, it was published monthly and was solely dedicated to the abolition of slavery. In the magazine’s own words, “to aid, so far as they may have their power, the cause of suffering humanity.”

The controversy on whether slavery should be allowed to spread into the western territories, particularly in regard to the Missouri compromise, would serve as a rallying cry for Appalachian abolitionists. In the Missouri Compromise, Missouri was admitted to the Union as a slave state while Maine was admitted as a free state. This was to keep an equal number of slave and free states in the union; neither side was willing to cede the majority of states on the issue. Additionally, all other territory west of Missouri was divided 36 degrees by 20’ north; slavery was allowed south of this line but prohibited north of it. Although considered a “compromise,” this act enraged anti-slavery forces.

Unfortunately, abolitionism would slowly fade away in the mountains as the nineteenth century rolled along. As slavery became more and more a polarizing issue, the environment in the south became less and less tolerant of anti-slavery voices. Some southern states even made the possession of anti-slavery material a crime. As a result, abolitionism in the south faded away, and those southerners who continued to oppose slavery were either forced to keep quiet or relocate to the north lest they face reprisals from pro-slavery radicals.

Nevertheless, the efforts of Appalachian abolitionists deserve to remembered for their efforts on behalf of human liberty. While they may not be remembered as well as their more famous colleagues in the north, they unquestionably influenced the abolitionist cause and helped make America more adequately live up to her ideals as a land of liberty for all.

The sources for this podcast were The Encyclopedia of Appalachia, edited by Rudy Abramson and Judy Haskell and The United States of Appalachia: How Southern Mountaineers Brought Independence, Culture, and Enlightenment to America by Jeff Biggers.

That’s it for today. As always, thanks to the 1937 Flood for allowing me to use their music, and thank you for listening. As always, a transcript of this and previous episodes of this podcast is available at If you want to get in touch with me, please do so. My e-mail address is Also, please feel free to suggest topics for future episodes. I hope you have a nice day, and we will speak again soon.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Podcast Appalachia: "King Coal"



Hello and welcome to Podcast Appalachia. I’m John Norris Brown.

Today I want to discuss Appalachia’s most important natural resource, a black, dusty rock that fueled the industrial revolution and one that countless people have given their lives to extract from the earth. This rock has led to an unprecedented increase in the standard of living, but has also done much damage to the natural environment. This resource, of course, is coal.

No single rock has had a great influence on Appalachian society than coal, nor has any other single mineral been more controversial. Coal is very important in generating energy; indeed, it’s difficult to imagine our economy functioning without it. Certainly, without coal the industrial revolution as we know it would not have been possible without coal.

In the Appalachian region, mining has shaped, or given rise to, thousands of mountain communities and provided employment for generations of mountain people. At the same time, the extraction of coal is very dangerous. Many miners have lost their lives in pursuit of this dirty rock. Additionally, the mining and burning of coal has produced many pollutants. Coal truly is a blessing and a curse, and which of these it is more of is a topic that has been debated for years.

Coal is ancient. It was formed from the remains of land plants that lived hundreds of millions of years ago. Appalachian coal was formed from peat deposited which had accumulated from the remains of tropical plants. The peat from these plants, which grew in swamps, built up around 290-320 million years ago. It is from this that coal is born.

In order for coal to form, its building blocks must be buried deep below the surface of the earth. Once peat was buried thousands of feet underground, the temperature and pressure began the coalification process.

The different ranks of coal are the result of differences in levels of heat as well as the depth and length of burial. The differences in ranks are the result of the level of carbon content: the higher the content, the more heat value the coal has.

Coal is also ranked by grade or quality, which is determined by the content of ash, mineral matter, and sulfur. Mineral matter does not add to the energy potential of coal, and must therefore be disposed of following combustion. Most of the environmental problems associated with coal as a fuel source stem from the sulfur content.

Coal mining in the United States began in 1750 near present-day Richmond, VA. A few years later mining began in Pennsylvania, near present-day Pittsburgh, where it would play a major role in the formation of that city. Coal mining would not extend to West Virginia and east Tennessee until the early 1800s, however.

Early mining was predictably very primitive. It usually consisted of digging small tunnels in stream banks where the flows had exposed coal beds. By the 1850s drills and steel scrapers, which were pulled by horses, were used in mining. This mining was normally on a very small scale and had only minimal effects on the environment.

By the 1870s, coal mining was becoming more industrialized. Prior to this time, most of the coal extracted in Appalachia was put to use in the region. By this time, markets were extended well beyond the region. This was the result of the amazing economic growth America experienced between the Civil War and World War I. Railroads were constructed to aid in the transportation of coal and various new technologies were utilized to aid in its extraction. Thus, coal became a large scale operation in Appalachia.

It was during this time of expansion that many of the problems we now associate with mining began to become more apparent. While a small scale operation, mining entailed only minor risks and did very little long term damage to the land. However, as the industry grew, so did the dangers. Miners found themselves going deeper and deeper beneath the surface, increasing the dangers of mining. Safety conditions inside many mines were truly deplorable, and numerous mines used child or convict labor. Additionally, the impact of coal mining became more obvious in the physical environment.

At the same time, coal was proving to be essential in the growth American was experiencing. It provided relatively inexpensive heat and energy for many Americans. So while coal did have inherent dangers, it also led to an unprecedented improvement in the standard of living for many Americans, as well as a period of incredible economic expansion.

During the late 1800s coal operators began to build their own communities for their employees. Although they employed some native Appalachians, they also began importing immigrant labor from Europe. African Americans were brought to the region as well to work in the mines. It is estimated that immigrants comprised about 1/3 of miners between 1880 and 1920. Unfortunately, these immigrants were sometimes used as scapegoats by native miners who were frustrated by the actions of mining operators.

The mining communities were often very repressive, as coal operators exerted great control over the miners’ daily lives. Companies owned everything in the towns in which their employees lived and could evict miners for any reason they saw fit. Often they paid miners with tokens instead of legal tender. These tokens could only be spent at company-owned stores. And of course, miners were prohibited from joining unions.

The mines themselves were also very dangerous. During the late 19th and early 20th centuries several mining disasters illustrated the danger to most Americans. One such disaster occurred in Anderson County, TN in 1902. The Fraterville Mine had long been considered one of the safest in the country and certainly had unusually good working conditions. Miners were allowed to own their own property and even to unionize, a rarity during the 1890s. But even in these ideal conditions, disasters could still happen.

On May 19, 1902 disaster struck as an explosion rocked the mine. The owner of the mine, George Camp, mounted an aggressive rescue effort but tragically he could not save his miners. In the end, 216 men and boys were killed, practically wiping out the entire adult male population of the community. At least ten of miners, trapped far below the surface, survived long enough—perhaps as long as seven hours—to write farewell messages to loved ones before succumbing to suffocation.

Five years later an even larger tragedy would strike in Monongah, WV. At 10 AM on December 6, 1907 the worst mining disaster in American history occurred. On that day there were explosions inside mines six and eight, which were connected by tunnels. A cave-in then blocked the entrance to the mines, preventing rescue efforts and leaving those miners who survived the explosion trapped inside. The explosion also destroyed one of the fans, preventing ventilation and causing the mines to slowly fill with poisonous gasses. Rescue efforts were also hampered by fire. All told, at least 362 men and boys died in the disaster, although the number may have been as high as 478. Most of the victims were European immigrants.

The unsafe conditions, along with low pay, too much control over miners’ lives by coal operators, and competition from foreign labor, led to movements toward unionization by miners. The United Mine Workers of America, or UMW, was founded in 1890, although it would take many years before membership became common. Predictably, mining operators strongly opposed these unionization efforts.

The UMW at first had very little power. However, when it pulled off its first successful strike in 1902, critics had to concede that it was gaining influence. After this strike, the union experienced steady, if often difficult growth.

The drive for unionization led to outright violence in many locations. Mine operators would often use thugs to intimidate miners. Miners would sometimes retaliate with violence as well. In many communities, this violence led to outright war. Though such wars took place in several parts of Appalachia, the most famous happened in West Virginia, culminating in the famous Battle of Blair Mountain.

Between 1898 and the early 1910s numerous efforts were made to unionize West Virginia coalminers, but they were at first mostly unsuccessful. During World War I the union began to make some headway, establishing a foothold in District 17. This became an island of unionism, surrounded by non-unionized mines. From this enclave the union began to aggressively attempt to unionize workers throughout the state.

These unionization efforts were largely successful, and by 1919 most of West Virginia’s coalmines were unionized. However, five counties in southern WV—Logan, Mingo, Wyoming, Mercer, and McDowell—remained non-union. Unions were kept out of these counties by intimidation and violence on the part of mine operators in these areas.

The tactics used by anti-union forces quickly became more serious than simple threats. In what miners called the “gun thug” system, coal operators hired thugs from such outfits as the Baldwin-Felts Detective Agency to utilize beatings to ensure the labor force remained union-free. In Logan County, the police force was also used to terrorize any miners who considered joining a union.

It should be noted that not all police forces where in the pockets of coal operators. Many law enforcement officers actively supported the miners. In 1920 Matewan Police Chief Sid Hatfield defended the miners from agents of the Baldwin-Felts Detective Agency, who had come to evict the families of striking miners from their homes. A shootout ensued, killing at least 10 men, including two bystanders who had nothing to do with either side. The surviving “detectives” were tried for murder, but were acquitted. For his efforts, Chief Hatfield emerged as a hero to the miners.

Sadly, Hatfield would pay dearly for his heroism. On August 1, 1921 he was murdered by anti-union forces. News of his death spread quickly throughout the coalfield, and less than a week later 5,000 miners and pro-union forces gathered in Charleston to protest Gov. Morgan’s decision to impose martial law in Mingo County. They were also treated to several pro-union speakers, including Mary Harris Jones, better known as “Mother” Jones.

On August 20th miners began to assemble in Marmet to prepare for an armed march south. Four days later they began the 65 mile march south to Mingo County. The purpose of this march was to avenge the death of Hatfield, overthrow martial law in Mingo County, unionize Logan and Mingo county miners, and to hang Logan County Sheriff Don Chafin, who was strongly and violently anti-union.

The federal government, seeing the strong potential for bloodshed, decided to intervene. President Warren Harding sent word to the marchers, ordering them to stop and disperse. Some of the miners heeded this warning and went home, but others continued to march southward, eventually meeting anti-union forces under the the command of Sheriff Chafin.

On August 30 the miners made their first organized attack. A group led by Rev. John Wilburn advanced up Blair Mountain and engaged three deputies under Chafin. Two of the officers were killed, as was one miner. The next day, fighting erupted all along the line. Miners assaulted Chafin’s defenses, breaking through on September 1. Chafin, now very concerned, was forced to activate his reserves and even utilize his air force, which dropped black powder and gas bombs on the miners.

That same day federal troops intervened to put a stop to the fighting. They succeeded in disarming most of the miners by September 3rd, although fighting would continue until the 4th. More than 500 participants were indicted for murder and treason, although only one was ever convicted.

Although the fighting was intense, casualties were mercifully low. Deaths from both sides totaled only 16 men. Although forced to disband, the miners felt they had won the day. However, area miners would not become unionized until 1933.

With unionization, better technology and equipment, more concern for safety, and more oversight, mining has clearly become safer over the years. However, there is only so safe that mining can be. Digging a mile underground and removing coal will always entail certain risks. The Quecreek Mine disaster, which happened in Somerset County, PA in 2002 had a happy ending when all nine miners were rescued after being trapped underground for 78 hours. The Sago Mine disaster of Upshur County, WV, however, ended in tragedy when only one of the 12 trapped miners were rescued in 2006. Disasters such as these always revive debates on mining safety issues and the proper level of government regulation.

Another controversy surrounding mining has been its environmental impact. The burning of coal has been a major contributor in poor air quality and the carbon it emits is held by many scientists to be a major factor in climate change.

Another controversy surrounding the environmental impact of mining is mountaintop removal, the most controversial of all mining techniques. In this process, all trees and vegetation are removed from the top of a mountain. After this, explosives are used to blast away the tops of the mountains, exposing the coal underneath. The rocks and soil from the mountaintop is then pushed into the nearby valley, sometimes destroying streams that flow through the area. To get to deeper coal, this process may be repeated several times. After all the coal is removed, the land is “reclaimed” by seeding, allowing the vegetation to return. However, the mountain and valleys of course never come back. Thus the mountains, which took millions of years to form, are destroyed forever in a matter of days.

Mountaintop removal is a fairly new process, having first begun in Appalachia during the 1970s as an extension of strip mining. Proponents of the process point to its efficiency, arguing that it can produce coal at a much lower cost. This process also utilizes few miners, and working conditions are safer for these miners.

Opponents point out the environment devastation it causes, as well as the economic impact as it makes the landscape completely ugly and discourages tourism. The fact that it employs fewer miners also means that those living in communities affected are less likely to reap economic benefits. When the coal is completely extracted, the mining companies usually pack up and leave, leaving local residents with fewer economic opportunities and a ravaged landscape.

Although coal mining has provided employment for generations of Appalachians, it has also been responsible for much suffering and heartache. Images of mining in Appalachia tend to be complex: while showing great respect and admiration for miners themselves, they tend to paint coal companies in a very negative light.

This of course represents a basic truth: coal mining is a double-edged sword for Appalachia with both very real and stark advantages and disadvantages. Over the years many observers have wondered if coal has been a net advantage or net disadvantage for the region. It is likely that debate on this issue will continue for years to come.

The sources for this episode were the Encyclopedia of Appalachia, edited by Rudy Abramson and Jean Haskell; Coal: A Human History by Barbara E. Freese; the website of Appalachian Voices, available at, and the website of the Coal Creek Watershed Foundation, available at

That’s it for today. As always, thanks to the 1937 Flood for allowing me to use their music, and thank you for listening. I greatly appreciate all of the feedback I’ve received, as well as all the webmasters and bloggers who have linked to this podcast. As always, a transcript of this and previous episodes of this podcast is available at, as well as two videos of photography from the region that you might enjoy. If you want to get in touch with me, please do so. My e-mail address is You can also find this podcast on myspace at I hope you have a nice day, and we will speak again soon.